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Former Tonga captain Mana 'Otai was named head coach of the Pacific island state's national team Wednesday, replacing predecessor Isitolo Maka.
'Otai, who skippered the Tongan team at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, said his immediate priority was selecting a team for a Northern Hemisphere tour in November that includes Tests against Italy, Scotland and the United States.
"Apart from picking the best possible team there are other factors to look at now, including our players availability, their conditions and to confirm them, so a lot of work needs to be done," he said.
'Otai, 43, has been coaching club rugby in Auckland for the past three years and will divide his time between New Zealand and Tonga in his new role. Tonga failed to make the knockout stages of last year's Rugby World Cup but secured a shock 19-14 win over eventual finalists France in a pool match.
Meanwhile, a former Tongan rugby league international and player-coach for the Bay Roskill Vikings has pleaded guilty to his part in a multi-million dollar drug deal that turned out to be an elaborate hoax.
William Wolfgramm, a butchery owner from Massey, West Auckland, pleaded guilty in the High Court at Auckland Wednesday to conspiracy to supply methamphetamine.
He came under police surveillance in July last year, suspected of attempting to import more than 100kg of methamphetamine from Tonga.
The methamphetamine turned out to be a hoax but Wolfgramm was arrested for his part in trying to secure the class A drug.
Wolfgramm was remanded on bail for sentencing on October 26.
Justice Timothy Brewer ordered reports on the suitability of home detention saying it was an unusual case and there was "at least the possibility" of a non-custodial sentence.
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