Ikale Tahi Tonga

Tongans send Piutau off in style with win over USA

Piutau, who was celebrating his 34th birthday in his 43rd and final test at his third World Cup, scored a try and kicked the last conversion at Hanazono Rugby Stadium as the Tongans finished off their tournament in style.

Tongan prop Siegfried Fisi'ihoi opened the scoring and centre Malietoa Hingano crossed to give the Pacific islanders the lead around the hour mark, with fullback Telusa Veainu adding the fourth try after the final gong.

Laid-back Kefu credited for Tonga’s rapid improvement

The Pacific Islanders have lost to England, Argentina and France at Rugby World Cup 2019 and need to beat the United States in Hanazono on Sunday to avoid finishing bottom of Pool C.

Coach Kefu, pictured above, a World Cup winner with Australia in 1999, had stated that a pass mark would be coming third and, with it, guaranteeing a place at RWC 2023 in France, but Alatini, one of his assistants in Japan, has still been mightily impressed.

Tonga v England match to pay respect to Pohiva

Mr Pohiva, who died last Thursday in Auckland, was President of the Tonga Rugby Union at the time of his passing.

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper offered his condolences to the 'Ikale Tahi team during Tonga's official welcome ceremony in Sapporo on Thursday, just hours after Mr Pohiva's state funeral was held in Nuku'alofa.

"Clearly he will be very sadly missed...there will be a moment's silence before your game on Sunday against England and both myself and the President of World Rugby (Sir Bill Beaumont) will be present to pay our respects."

All Blacks run riot over Tonga in 14-try victory

Playing with freedom against hopelessly outclassed opposition, the world champions flexed their attacking muscles ominously on Saturday, notching their biggest winning margin over any team in more than a decade.

Winger George Bridge bagged four tries while fullback Ben Smith and inside centre Ryan Crotty crossed twice each in what was a glorified training run before leaving for the global tournament in Japan.

Tonga hoping to 'shock' All Blacks

The 'Ikale Tahi have never beaten the world champions in five attempts, with an average losing margin of 65-7.

The Kingdom have only managed one win in four tests this year but coach Toutai Kefu is refusing to wave the white flag.

"I still believe that we're a chance of playing well and getting close. People are talking and I hear (us being written off but) the All Blacks are the number one team in the world so we're under no illusions about that but we've still got a chance, regardless of how small that is, so the message has always been to believe."

'Ikale Tahi bolter 'a player of the future'

Christchurch-based hooker Siua Maile has been selected at the expense of veteran Elvis Taione, despite no previous involvement with the national team.

The former flanker was named in the Canterbury wider training group earlier this year and Kefu admitted his selection was more about the future than the upcoming tournament in Japan.

Fiji to unleash Radradra against Tonga

Coach John McKee's starting XV to face Tonga at Eden Park on Saturday is likely to be close to that which runs out against the Wallabies in their pool opener at Sapporo three weeks later.

The team is dominated by European-based professionals and most of them were involved in last November's historic 21-14 upset of France in Paris.

That includes Bordeaux-based outside centre Radradra, who has made slick transition to the 15-man code.

Tonga beat Western Force

Western Force led in the first half 10-7 but the ‘Ikale Tahi proved too strong in the second half led by fly half Kurt Morath and scrum half Sonatane Takulua.

The Tongans stuck to Coach Toutai Kefu’s game plan being direct and physical.

The stadium was packed with fans who managed to keep dry in the rain, while other fans in the outer area were drenched but stayed to the end.

Some fans including students from Queen Salote College, who cheered the Force on, sat in the rain waiting for hours before the match.

Western Force en route to Tonga ahead of Ikale Tahi clash

The invitational from the Tonga coach Toutai Kefu comes just a week out from the start of the Western Force's National Rugby Championship season.

Western Force coach Tim Sampson says it will be a very special occasion for his team which also features two Tongans.

"Obviously playing a national team is a huge honour for the club and it is something that we are really looking forward to. It doesn't happen often these days where club plays country," Tim Sampson said.