Three weeks ago Siua Maile was working on a roof battling with the chilly conditions of New Zealand winter but on Saturday the hooker will make his test debut for Tonga against the All Blacks.
The 22-year-old was a surprise call-up into Tonga’s squad for the Rugby World Cup on Monday.
Maile was probably counting on spending a lot of his time in Japan holding tackle bags and staying ready in the hope he might get a test debut.
The last stop off before Japan has arrived… the All Blacks.— Tonga Rugby Union (@officialTongaRU) September 4, 2019
Here is your Ikale Tahi team to face New Zealand.
Young hooker Siua Maile has been named to make his international debut while fly half Kurt Morath returns to playmaking duties.
Go Tonga! #teamtonga #teketonga pic.twitter.com/bjbMCzsSQ5
Injuries to Paula Ngauamo and Sosefo Sakalia, however, means that coach Toutai Kefu will throw Maile in at the deep end on Saturday.
“There’s not much we can do with two hookers out so we need to roll the dice,” said Kefu.
“Three weeks ago he was nailing tin roofs to houses so this is a great opportunity for him.
“What a baptism of fire, he’s got a massive opportunity, got nothing to lose so he’s looking forward to it.”