Paea not concerned with tough RLWC draw - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Paea not concerned with tough RLWC draw

By Todd Balym 20/10/2008 04:30:40 PM Comments (0)

Tonga skipper Lopini Paea isn't concerned that a horrendous rugby league World Cup schedule could cripple his side's chances at reaching the semi-finals.

The Tongans have arguably one of the toughest pool schedules to complete next week with an opening game against Ireland at Parramatta Stadium on Monday before a grudge match against Samoa just four days later.

They must win both games to advance to the play-off on November 10 on the Gold Coast for a place in the semi-finals.

The only nation with a tougher program is Papua New Guinea who were drawn in the group of death with the three main World Cup favourites Australia, New Zealand and England.

But Paea isn't going to whinge about Tonga's World Cup draw, even though the short turnaround is outlawed in the NRL where clubs involved in Monday games cannot play until at least the next Saturday.

The 24-year-old Roosters prop says Tonga's draw is no different to the workload of State of Origin players who sometimes back up less than 48 hours after playing for NSW or Queensland.

"It was a bit of shock," said Paea of the draw.

"But footy these days you just have to be ready to play in any circumstance or situation.

"During the season the boys do it all the time, they play Origin on Wednesday and then have to play for their clubs.

"We are not going to complain about it, we will just take one game as it comes."

Boasting a team full of NRL talent, including Antonio Kaufusi, Michael Jennings, Feleti Mateo and Epalahame Lauaki, the Tongans are favoured to be the highest placed of the six minnow nations.

They suffered a heavy 56-8 loss to New Zealand in Auckland on Sunday but Paea says the islanders are not too upset about the 10-try defeat.

"Our confidence isn't down. It was just good to see where we stand at the moment and good to see the stuff that works and stuff we can work on I guess," he said.

"We just have to keep our heads down and keep working hard."

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