Kan­ga­roos pre­pare for Tonga on­slaught

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT -

AUS­TRALIA are brac­ing for a Tonga side who be­lieve the Kan­ga­roos “are beat­able”.

The Kan­ga­roos and Tonga will play for the first time in Auck­land on Satur­day.

Al­ready the streets are filled by red Ton­gan flags wav­ing from houses and cars alike, with a crowd of about 30,000 ex­pected for the match.

Aus­tralian coach Mal Meninga will pre­pare his side to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in five years.

“I hate los­ing,” Meninga said. “We all do. The pa­pers and me­dia will be talk­ing about the Kan­ga­roos are vul­ner­a­ble.

“We are at a stage in our tran­si­tion that we have a bit of work to do. I can as­sure you we will be ready for next week.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to it. Even be­fore this game I was ex­cited about the tal­ent of the footy team.

“We will con­cen­trate on our­selves, we know it’s com­ing.

“We know how com­mit­ted they are go­ing to be. We will be ready phys­i­cally and men­tally. They think we’re beat­able.”

Meninga has vowed to stick with the 17 play­ers who were beaten by New Zealand.

Ja­son Tau­malolo and An- drew Fi­fita will lead the Ton­gan on­slaught.

Kan­ga­roos skip­per Boyd Cord­ner is ex­pect­ing an­other in­tense clash.

“They are proud of where they come from,” Cord­ner said.

“It’s well doc­u­mented. We’ve seen through last year’s World Cup how good of a side they are. Their fan base here in New Zealand is re­ally good for the in­ter­na­tional game.”

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