Turinui targets rugby breakdown battle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Turinui targets rugby breakdown battle

04/07/2008 07:22:26 PM Comments (0)

Australia A rugby captain Morgan Turinui says his team must meet the physicality of the New Zealand Maori and win the battle of the breakdown in Sunday's Pacific Nations Cup decider at North Sydney Oval.

Turinui's side will take a two-point lead over the Maori into their final round clash in the six-team tournament.

Australia A will field a revamped back row for the match after Stephen Hoiles and Hugh McMeniman were promoted to the Wallabies squad for Saturday's second Test against France.

Coach Phil Mooney has moved Richard Brown to openside flanker with Leroy Houston drafted into Brown's previous spot at No.8.

Former Wallabies centre Turinui said the back row battle would be critical to the outcome of the game, with the Maori fielding a strong trio of Liam Messam, Tanerau Latimer and Thomas Waldrom.

"I think we have got to match their physicality," Turinui said.

"The back rows will control the direction and tempo of the game.

"We've got a lot of firepower out wide which we can use."

Maori coach Donny Stevenson has bracketed props Ben May and Bronson Murray.

May is suffering from flu and Stevenson said he would decide on his availability on match day.

"Sunday's match is crucial and whoever wins it wins the tournament and we are treating it as a final," Stevenson said.

"Last week's match against Japan gave us a lot of confidence in terms of our attacking game and knowing that Australia A pride themselves on their attack as well.

"We expect a good game."

Stevenson is especially wary of the Australians' midfield combination of Turinui and former rugby league star Timana Tahu, a pair he has dubbed Australia's "Maori connection".

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