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Wales to face physical Tongan challenge - Filise

14th June 2017

Taufa'ao Filise has warned Wales to expect a physical encounter when they take on Tonga at Eden Park on Friday (6.30am BST)

Filise, who has been capped 17 times by Tonga, spent a year at Eden Park playing for Super Rugby outfit Blues.

The experienced prop believes Wales will come out on top during Friday’s test, but expects a feisty atmosphere in Auckland for the Pasifika Challenge double-header.

“The game is in New Zealand, and New Zealand is a second home for Tonga. There will be a lot of Tongan supporters there,” said Filise.

“I do think Wales will beat Tonga, because they’ve got a strong squad. 

“For example, Jamie Roberts is an experienced, physical player and probably the one that Tonga will be looking out for.

“But Tonga will be strong in the forwards, they have a physical pack and I believe Wales will be expecting a physical game.

“Tonga have got a few experienced players in the forwards, such as the captain, Nili Latu, who plays for Newcastle Falcons, and he might be more familiar with some of the Wales players.

“In the backs, there are a few Super Rugby players in there who are going to bring pace into the game as well, and the mix of pace and power could be an interesting combination.

“It’s a big game for Tonga as well because it is a warm-up before they play in the World Cup qualifiers against Fiji and Samoa.

“Wales will also play Samoa at Apia, and they will be playing in very hot and humid conditions. Most teams who play there have played there before and know what to expect, but it could be a surprise for Wales.”

Seven Cardiff Blues players have been named in Wales' matchday squad for Friday's test, with Seb Davies set to make his debut at lock, while Alex Cuthbert, Josh Navidi, Kristian Dacey and Gareth Anscombe will add to their cap tallies after also being named in the starting XV.

Ellis Jenkins and uncapped prop Dillon Lewis are named on the bench for the Eden Park clash.