Veteran playmaker Bernard Foley is encouraging his teammates to “embrace the challenge” ahead of today’s sell-out clash against Tonga in Nuku’alofa.

With more than 10,000 expected to pack out Teufaiva Stadium and the surrounding rooftops, the Australia A skipper is under no illusions about what lies ahead against the Ikale Tahi on Friday afternoon.

“Playing here in Tonga with the country getting around it, it’s a massive occasion for us all and it’s going to be an amazing experience,” Foley said.

“It’s Tonga’s first international fixture in about six years and there’s a lot of people coming back to Tonga to watch this game.

“For us, it’s about keeping things simple: if we stay tight as a unit and do the little things well, then we can embrace the challenge and the opportunity that’s been presented to us.”

Friday’s clash will mark Foley’s Australia A debut with the 76-cap Wallaby and his teammates fully aware of what a strong performance will do for their Rugby World Cup hopes.

“There are 33 spots on the plane to France and I think every rugby player in Australia should be ambitious and targeting that goal of making the (RWC) squad,” Foley said.

“But every game you go out to put your best foot forward and this is no different.

“We’ve been given a great opportunity to test ourselves against another team headed to the World Cup.

“Tonga have a good squad and they’ve named a strong side to face us, so we’ll just take that challenge on and put a performance that will hopefully help our selection going forward,” he said.