Mate Ma'a Tonga

Airport turns Tongan fans away: 'It's almost like it's a racial thing'

The winner of today's Tonga vs Lebanon game in Christchurch will make the Rugby League World Cup semi-finals in Auckland next weekend.

The airport has issued an advisory saying if Tonga wins, they will transfer straight onto a bus and leave the airport without going through the domestic terminal on their return to Auckland.

Airport spokeswoman Lisa Mulitalo said the airport understood theĀ pride the Tongan community had in their teamĀ and was proud to support the welcome event on the team's arrival into the country on October 30, when 3500 supporters turned up.

Tonga ready for Rugby League World Cup quarter-final

Mate Ma'a Tonga became the first second tier nation to defeat a tier one side, with a 28-22 win sealing top spot in the group.

Last week's shock 28-22 victory over the Kiwis saw Tonga finish ahead of New Zealand, setting up a clash with Lebanon for a spot in the tournament semi-finals.

Speaking to media versatile back, David Fusitu'a spoke about the intensity of the match.

"It was crazy, I know the boys really enjoyed it," he said.

"The effort the boys put in there... they did it for each other, it really showed out there."

Tonga target Kiwis scalp

The Kingdom repelled Polynesian rivals Toa Samoa 32-18 at the weekend to confirm their place in the knockout rounds and avoid a potential quarter final clash with Australia.

A win over the Kiwis at Waikato Stadium, in a match to determine top spot in Group B, would also avoid a last-eight matchup against England.

Tuimoala Lolohea said they were reminded by the coaching staff after the match that a tier two nation has never beaten one of the big three.

Tonga's halves hailed for leadership

As two of the least experienced players in the star-studded Tongan team, Ata Hingano and Tuimoala Lolohea were identified as a potential weakness prior to the World Cup, but silenced any doubters with a convincing showing at Waikato Stadium in week two.

"I thought our halves did a terrific job, everyone has spoken about our halves and that's where our inexperience is, but they won that game tonight," coach Kristian Woolf said.

"They certainly outplayed the opposition's halves and their kicking was exceptional, they built pressure in everything they did."

Toa Samoa embracing underdog tag against Tonga

Samoa were outclassed 38-8 by New Zealand in their opening match last weekend, while Mate Ma'a Tonga thrashed Scotland 50-4.

The Kingdom are being talked about as a tournament dark horse after Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita switched allegiance to represent their heritage.

Toa Samoa prop Herman Ese'ese said they are happy to stay under the radar.