Rauluni to lead Pacific Islands - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rauluni to lead Pacific Islands

04/11/2008 07:21:47 AM Comments (0)

Mosese Rauluni has been appointed captain of the Pacific Islands for their upcoming Tests against England, France and Italy.

Scrum-half Rauluni, who plays his club rugby in England for Premiership side Saracens, captained Fiji to the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup.

Dynamic Tongan loose forward Nili Latu will be the vice-captain of a team still searching for a first Test win.

An initial chance to end that record will come on Saturday at Twickenham, in what will be Martin Johnson's first game in charge of England.

Made up of the top players from Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, the Pacific Islanders will be making only their third tour, following Tests against southern hemisphere countries in 2004 and a first trip to Europe in 2006.

All three nations have a reputation for hard-running and tough-tackling rugby but only came together as a squad when arriving in England on Sunday.

"The rugby we play will be simple - we will run, tackle, play direct and go hard at them," said Pacific Islanders coach Quddus Fielea.

"It is a huge task but we can make our dreams come true if we stick to our game plan."

Tour manager Sitiveni Rabuka, the former Fiji prime minister and leader of two 1987 military coups, added: "We represent many people but it doesn't matter where we come from. We stand together as Pacific Islanders.

"Pacific Island nations provided the energy and the spark of the Rugby World Cup in France and we now have the opportunity to build on this tradition."

Fiji beat Wales 38-34 in a thrilling display in Nantes to reach the last eight of the World Cup before giving eventual champions South Africa a scare in the quarter-finals.

England, beaten by the Springboks in the final, endured physical pool matches against Tonga and Samoa in France.

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