'Ikale Tahi

Tonga welcomes all players keen to represent 'Ikale Tahi

RNZ Pacific revealed last month that former All Black Charles Piutau, along with a handful of ex New Zealand and Australian internationals, wants to play for Tonga at the 2019 World Cup.

Players who have already represented one nation are able to switch allegiance through Olympic sevens qualifying events every four years, provided they had a passport for a second country and have completed a minimum stand down period of three years.

The Tonga Rugby Union's Vice Chairman Fe'ao Vunipola said the more the merrier.

Tonga look to make winning start v Baabaas


The 'Ikale Tahi will face a Baabaas squad that led 17-5 against the All Blacks last weekend before eventually sucumming 31-22.

The Barbarians have named a completely new forward pack from the team beaten at Twickenham, while Nic Stirzaker and Robert du Preez form a new halves pairing and Fiji-born Australia wing Taqele Naiyaravoro starts on the right wing in place of the injured Julian Savea.

The Tongan squad has been in Ireland for close to two weeks and coach Toutai Kefu said they were ready to get underway.

Tonga govt gives money to rugby stars and other sports

The Cabinet approved the donation last week for the players who met Samoa last weekend and who play the Flying Fijians on Saturday.

The government is also donating another $US4,454 dollars to the Tonga Athletics Sports Association.

Radio Tonga reports the government saying this demonstrates its leadership and commitment to building confidence and investment in its athletes, supporting a strong Tongan sports system to achieve excellence.

Last month the government pulled out of hosting the Pacific Games, citing other priorities for the funding.


'Ikale Tahi hold on for famous win at Teufaiva

The 'Ikale Tahi triumphed 30-26 in Nuku'alofa, in front of ten thousand fervent supporters in the first test match at Teufaiva Stadium for eight years.

RNZI reports the home side raced out to a 14-3 lead in the opening 20 minutes but Manu Samoa closed the gap to one point at half-time, courtesy of a Faifili Levave try and two more penalties from Tusi Pisi.

With the match in the balance at 20-19, halfback Sonatone Takulua completed a breakaway Tongan try from inside their own half and added the extras to make it 30-19 with half an hour to play.

Tonga expects Teufaiva to host July rugby tests

The 'Ikale Tahi have not played on home soil since 2009 and a scheduled home test against Wales in June has been moved to New Zealand because the field was deemed unfit for play.

Representatives from World Rugby and Turf Management New Zealand visited Nuku'alofa last week to assess the playing field.

Tonga Rugby CEO Fe'ao Vunipola said the governing body has given them the go ahead to begin preparations for hosting Samoa and Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup in July, pending a final sign-off.

Welsh rugby fans still plan to visit Tonga

World Rugby confirmed last week the test would not be held in Nuku'alofa because of doubts over the readiness of Teufaiva National Stadium.

The 'Ikale Tahi haven't played at home since 2009 and head coach Toutai Kefu said the match would now be played in New Zealand, at either Growers Stadium in Pukekohe or North Harbour Stadium.

But the Director of Ultimate Australia, Hugh Downie, said their tour group of about 50 Welsh rugby fans are still planning to visit the Kingdom.

Perez in, Matuu and Pisi out with injuries

Paul Perez will be starting the game at centre as Malu Falaniko replaces Albert Nikoro at fullback and Pelefofoga Cowley coming in for Dwayne Polataivao at scrum half.

"Obviously we have been waiting for these guys for a while and I'm glad Paul is here as well as Census. They bring an extra boost to both the backs and our forwards," said head coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia.

"Malu Falaniko is a very talented young player and we look forward to how he’s going to fare against Tonga. We just have to make sure we cover all our bases tactically," he added.

'Ikale Tahi players concerned by Tonga Rugby saga

RNZI reports World Rugby suspended all financial support to the TRU at the start of January, after the interim administration led by Fe'ao Vunipola sacked a bunch of staff, including the CEO, High Performance Manager, 'Ikale Tahi coach and sevens coach.

Officials are in Nuku'alofa this week for talks with the Union and Tonga Government, in an attempt to resolve the situation.

Test raises US$11k for former Tonga flanker

The 26-year-old is suffering from kidney failure and the Romanian Rugby Federation donated the profits from ticket sales in Bucharest towards Vaiomounga's on-going care.

He was playing for Romanian champions CSM Baia Mare when he was diagnosed last year and represented Tonga in 13 tests.

The 'Ikale Tahi won the Rugby World Cup warm-up match 21-16, with their former flanker leading the visitors onto the field before kickoff.

Romania ideal opposition for 'Ikale Tahi

The 'Ikale Tahi take on Romania in Bucharest Sunday morning.

Coach Mana Otai has made nine changes to the starting fifteen, in an effort to give the full squad game-time ahead of the World Cup.

He says Romania is an ideal team to come up against before playing Georgia in two weeks time.