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banner Sunday, 5 November, 2000, 12:21 GMT
Bennett plays the waiting game
Eugene Powell (centre), Michael Mondo and Adrian Lam
Eugene Powell of South Africa is stopped by Michael Mondo and Adrian Lam
Papua New Guinea coach Bob Bennett is delaying naming his side for Monday's showdown with Tonga at St Esteve.

His side only need a win or draw to advance to the quarter-finals and there are no fresh injury worries to report since the bruising 16-0 victory over South Africa in Toulouse on Thursday.

"I have almost made my mind up but I won't be revealing my hand until just before kick-off," said Bennett.

"We have a couple of players with minor niggles, but we have been pretty lucky with injuries so far and I don't expect to make many changes."


"We are the only unseeded team who look like qualifying so, so we'll be disappointed if we don't.

"Tonga are a good team and Murray Hurst is a good coach, but we haven't faltered on our path so far and I think we'll go OK on Monday night."

Hurst is also playing his cards close to his chest, with concerns about goal-kicking winner Fifita Moala - who is expected to be fit - while prop Talite Liava'a will miss the game with rib and wrist injuries.

Alfons Masella will replace Liava'a in the front row and veteran Dwane Mann looks set for a move into the scrum-half position. Bradford Bulls favourite Tevita Vaikona is likely to go from centre to the wing.

Probable Teams:

Papua New Guinea: Buko, Wilshere, Aila, Songoro, Bai, Gene, Lam, Karl, Mom, Mondo, Naawi, Mamando, O'Reilly. Subs: Paiyo, Krewanty, Norman, Aizure.

Tonga: J Kaufusi, Moala, Koloi, G Wolfgrann, Vaikona, Howlett, D Mann, M Masella, E Mann, A Masella, Mason, M Kaufusi, Manu. Subs (from): W Wolfgrann, Lomu, Lomi, Kite, Vasau, P Fisi'iahi, D Fisi'iahi.

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