Hong Kong aim to shut down ‘flashy’ Tongan game
Hosts hoping to bounce back in their second match of IRB U20s tournament in Hong Kong
Flanker Sebastian Brien will be one of four changes in the starting line-up for Hong Kong and his orders will be to close down the ‘flashy’ game which opponents Tonga will bring in their second outing at the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy on Friday.
Brien will replace Raef Morrison, who will start on the bench, as Hong Kong opt to rotate their squad. The loose forward has been charged with heavy tackle duty in a bid to try to stop Tonga's wide-ranging game.
"Tonga are a quality team who will bring a very flamboyant style of rugby where they like to play with width and throw the ball about. We will have to close them down quickly and play to our strengths," warned Hong Kong coach Pale Tauti.
"We will have to make our one-on-one tackles and our defence will need to be at its best to stop their straight and strong runners.
"If we can make our tackles count and play smart and stick to our structure, I'm confident we can give it a good show."
Hong Kong put in a good first-half effort in their first game against the United States when they held the top seeds to 8-0 at the break, but the Americans then took charge to win 37-0.
"That opening half was fantastic and it has given the team a lot of confidence. They can build on that," Tauti said.
"Our set pieces were good and we won all our line-out ball, and our scrummaging was strong. If we can put pressure on Tonga in these areas it will help massively."
Apart from Brien, the other change in the forwards sees Fin Field replace Rupert Phillips, who sits out one match after being cited for dangerous play - tip-tackling a US opponent.
Scrum-half Jack Combes and winger Flynn Kennedy come in for James Christie and Jordan Cooper respectively.
Asian champions Japan will start proceedings hoping to bounce back from their 33-28 loss to Uruguay on Monday when they meet giant-killers Namibia.
Third seeds Japan will need to pick up their game against Namibia, who stunned Canada in their opener.
In other games, the United States meet Georgia while Canada take on Uruguay.
The winner of the eight-team competition qualifies for the 2015 IRB Junior World Championship.