Ikale Tahi

Tonga’s PM expresses gratitude to Ikale Tahi

He released a statement expressing his appreciation to the players.

“It is with utmost respect, on behalf of His Majesty King Tupou VI, the government and the people of Tonga, to convey herein our hearty congratulations, deep love and appreciation, to the coach, captain and respective member of the Ikale Tahi team for their overwhelming diligent and divinely empowered triumph at their recent Rugby World Cup game versus United States.”

“It is indeed a personification of national pride and solidarity and inspiration for the generation of today and tomorrow.”

Tonga wary of England in their RWC opener

The team was welcomed in a traditional Japanese manner in Kochi on Monday night.

Tonga will be facing England in their first match of the World Cup.

The team is under the guidance of Toutai Kefu, who was born in Tonga but made 60 caps for Australia during his playing career. He took charge of the Tongan national team shortly following the 2015 World Cup. Their most recent result was a crushing 92-7 defeat to New Zealand.

Tonga announces squad for Rugby World Cup

Players from clubs in England, France, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, USA and Tongan based players will come together to represent Ikale Tahi.

Tonga will face England, Argentina, France and the USA in the battle of Pool C.

Ikale Tahi Head Coach, Toutai Kefu said: “I’d like to congratulate all players who have been selected in our country’s squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan. 
“We’ve brought together some really exciting players who are all very passionate about representing Tonga and the red jersey on the biggest stage in our sport.

Pacific Islands nations prepare for Japan 2019 at Pasifika Challenge event

The three Pacific rivals will look to fine-tune their preparations for Rugby World Cup 2019 at Eden Park when Samoa take on the New Zealand Heartland XV and Fiji play their final Rugby World Cup preparation test against Tonga.

The inaugural Pasifika Challenge was held in 2017 with Wales beating Tonga 24-6 and the All Blacks defeating Manu Samoa 78-0.

Rare home game for 'Ikale Tahi

The Australian side are already in Tonga preparing for the match against the 'Ikale Tahi at Teufaiava stadium on Saturday.

Kefu said the fixture was an important one for Tonga's World Cup build up before warm up matches against Fiji and the All Blacks.

Home matches for the national side have been few and far between over the past decade, he said.

"That is the main reason why we are doing it. Just to give something back to our supporters and our fans in Tonga. We wanted to bring a game to them, we wanted to reconnect with them," Kefu said.

Flying Fijians wary of Tonga in upcoming final RWC build-up

 Speaking to ‘The Fiji Times’, Head Coach John McKee said they are under no illusion that this game would be no walk in the park.

“Tonga will bring a lot of physicality,” McKee said.

“If you think it was physical against Samoa, you can rank that up with Tonga.”

McKee expects the stands to be flooded with the Tongan red flags and Tongans turning up in numbers wearing red in support for the Ikale Tahi.

Fiji will be walking into a red zone- more Tongan support is expected in Auckland than Fijians.

Pacific Island players reaching 'boiling point' over Northern blockade

A current member of the Pacific Players’ Association, Seilala Mapusua told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning the unlevel playing field faced by Tier Two nations is more dire than World Rugby acknowledges.

“Until we see some real change and movement from the north, it’s going to carry on being this way,” said Mapusua who was speaking after Fijian born Sevu Reece impressed for the All Blacks in their win over Australia.

Tonga bounce back to end PNC with win

Both sides had lost their previous two PNC matches, but it was the Tongans who held on for victory at Lautoka's Churchil Park.

Tonga were blown off the park last week 41-7 by a speedy and physical Japan team, and in the opening stages of Friday's match it seemed they had taken a leaf out of the Brave Blossom's book, racing away to a 19-8 half-time lead through tries to outside backs David Halaifonua and Viliami Lolohea and new centre Malietoa Hingano.

Tonga make changes for PNC final round

The two sides meet in the last round of the Pacific Nations Cup in Lautoka.

Kefu has made four changes made to the forward pack which was soundly beaten in Osaka last week.

Paula Ngauamo and Siua Halanukonuka comes into the front row and former Hurricane lock Sam Lousi returns from injury forcing Sitiveni Mafi to move into the loose forwards.

Zane Kapeli will start at number eight instead of Maama Vaipulu, while James Faiva and Malietoa Hingano take their place in the backline at first five and centre respectively.

Ikale Tahi to work on lifting fitness levels

It was a much better playing surface this time than the mud-bath Tonga endured in their loss to Samoa at Apia Park but Japan, sporting at least five Tongans of their own, showed their world cup preparations were well on track outclassing the Ikale Tahi in both attack and defence.

Despite the scoreline however Toutai Kefu said there were some positives he thought the team could build on.