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All Whites ready for Vanuatu challenge

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/05/2016

Bill Tuiloma © Getty Images Bill Tuiloma The All Whites have been happy to tick off an opening Nations Cup win over Fiji, but midfielder Bill Tuiloma says the challenge is to lift for their match against Vanuatu.

With the conditions in Port Moresby meaning a direct style of play is likely to prove effective, Tuiloma's dangerous long throw could become an important part of the All Whites' game on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old's thrown delivery caused chaos in the Fiji area in New Zealand's opening 3-1 win, eventually allowing Themi Tzimopoulos to score his first international goal.

Coach Anthony Hudson has made it clear his side will play in any manner necessary to win the tournament, and Tuiloma says he and his teammates will need to follow instructions closely.

"Each island team is going to be difficult. We just need to be prepared and approach each match with the right mentality. If we focus on our own game and perform our roles, then we'll get the job done."

Tuiloma relished his extensive game time against Fiji after being granted only limited stretches in recent months.

The Olympique de Marseille player spent last season on loan at fellow French outfit Strasbourg and admits the experience was a mixed one.

"It was an up-and-down situation because I didn't get as much game time as I would've liked," Tuiloma said.

"I spent a bit of time in the reserves and came off the bench a few times but, overall, it actually drove me to train even harder and make sure I was ready for the Nations Cup."

Following the Nations Cup, which allows the winner entry into 2017 Confederations Cup, Tuiloma will have another job to do on his return to France.

With his loan spell at Strasbourg at an end, Tuiloma's thoughts are turning to securing a place in the first team squad at Marseille, a club shrouded in uncertainty due to changes at the coaching and ownership levels.

"I just want to go back there and train really hard to try to earn my spot in the team. It will all come down to me in terms of how much I put into every training session."

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