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Brent Kite believes Tonga can win all their group games
6:03pm Monday 21st October 2013 in Sport
THE Tongan team have started training in earnest at Leigh Sports Village in preparation for the Rugby League World Cup.
A skills and weights session followed a catch-up with captain Brent Kite, the former Manly Sea Eagles prop who starts a new chapter of his career with Penrith Panthers in the 2014 NRL season.
How have you settled in to life in Leigh?
The hospitality’s been great so far. We’re now really looking forward to playing footie as the preparation has been first class.
Before you came to the UK, you went to Tonga, didn’t you? For a lot of the guys who play for NRL sides, that must have been really valuable.
Yeah - meeting the people we’re representing was really important in terms of feeding off their passion and expectation. To be honest, not every Tongan squad has done that and I just got the sense that the people got as much out of it as we did. Whatever happens on the pitch, we’ve already achieved quite a lot in terms of going back home.
So what are your aims on the pitch?
We need to win every game! And we do believe we can do that with the games we’ve got scheduled against Scotland, Cook Islands and Italy. That would take us to a quarter final, which would be massive for the game back home but we’re really guarding against complacency. We’ve got the best squad we’ve put together for a long time and the coach doesn’t want us to get ahead of ourselves. I think we can do big things, though
And Tonga Vs Cook Islands at Leigh Sports Village on November 5 is probably the pick of your games.
We had another game against an island nation earlier in the year when we played Samoa and that was really spirited and had a bit of feeling in it, for sure! So we’re expecting the Cook Island boys to turn up with similar passion and aggression. Two teams going at it with similar attributes and ideas about how the game should be played will make for quite a spectacle.
What players in the Tongan squad should we look out for?
We’ve got a really good squad and we’ve always been known for our strong forwards, so Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta) and Sika Manu (Penrith) have been around a long time. There’s also Willie Manu who plays in the UK (St Helens) who’s been going well for nearly a decade. In terms of guys who might put the ball over the line we’ve got Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters), who is a winning grand finalist who always gives you a bit of excitement and I’ve never seen Jorge Taufua (Manly) pushed across the sideline, he throws caution to the wind. We’ve also got a young half Samisoni Langi (Sydney Roosters), who’s been really impressive.
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