Tonga rugby

The former Tonga international who has retired from rugby aged 45

Ma’ama Molitka hung up his boots last week after seven seasons of service for Bedfordshire club Ampthill, helping the English side up the ranks to reach the second-tier RFU Championship in 2019.

The loose forward had previously played 18 tests for Tonga over the course of 11 years, rounding out his international career at the 2007 World Cup in France when he came off the bench against England in a 36-20 defeat in Paris.

Tongan 10 Kurt Morath sets up sticks in Texas

'Ikale Tahi first five Kurt Morath had barely arrived in Austin, Texas before it was announced the 2020 Major League Rugby season was no more.

The 38 test veteran made his international debut for Tonga in 2009.

Morath made his debut for the Austin Gilgronis on 7 March, after visa problems delayed his arrival, converting Tiaan Erasmus' first half try as the visitors edged the Houston SabreCats 24-20 to seal their first win of the season and snap a 22-match losing run dating back to June 2018.

Tonga focuses on ball delivery

Tonga A has been working hard this week in a bid to match the Cherry Blossoms at the ANZ Stadium.

Tongan fullback Kava Tagifua says they have been working on ways to counter their opponents.

“What we are expecting from Japan, we know that they play quite fast, they deliver the ball out wide so the boys are doing everything to get their all covered.”

Tonga will take on Japan at 2.30pm (FJ Time) tomorrow.

     

PNG and Tonga teams get second shot at Rugby World Cup

Tonga withdrew from the Oceania Championship three months ago after the team was quarantined for measles but were thrown a lifeline after World Rugby agreed to a revised qualification process.

Fiji has already secured their spot after beating Samoa 41-13 in the Oceania qualifying final, with the winner of this weekend's match in Port Moresby to playoff against the Manusina in April for a place in the final World Cup repechage tournament.

Tonga take heart from strong 7s showing

The kingdom finished sixth in the Sevens Challenger Series over the past fortnight to secure their spot in the final World Series Qualifier later this year.

Tu'ifua only had 11 fit players and three staff during the final tournament in Montevideo whereas most of the top teams had 14-man squads as well as half a dozen officials.

"All these teams they carried the full-staff with video analysts and a medical and strength and conditioning [coach] as well but for us it's only three," he said.

Tonga grateful for new global sevens series

The Kingdom and Papua New Guinea are among 16 countries that will take part in the new Men's World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in 2020.

The inaugural campaign will feature two tournaments in Chile and Uruguay, with the top eight ranked core teams to then compete in a final playoff tournament for a place on next season's World Sevens Series.

Tonga coach Tevita Tu'ifua said he was looking forward to being a part of the new competition.

Tonga's 'Zane Train' tipped to succeed with Highlanders

Kapeli, 27, who only made his test debut 12 months ago, was one of 46 rookies named in the New Zealand Super Rugby squads this week.

He started all four of Tonga's pool games in Japan - making headlines for a crunching tackle on England number eight Billy Vunipola on the opening weekend - and Alatini, who was a skills coach with the 'Ikale Tahi squad, said the opportunity is well deserved.

Tonga to face PNG in bronze medal play-off

The team won four out of five pool matches losing to Australia in its last game.

Tonga is likely to play in the Olympic Recharge Tournament in France next year if they defeat PNG in the today’s face off.

By making the bronze medal match, the side has qualified for World Series tournaments in Chile and Uruguay next year that are qualifiers for Hong Kong.

The three days Oceania Rugby Championship tournament will end this afternoon at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

     

Tonga face tough task at Oceania Olympic 7s qualifier

Ten countries, including World Series regulars Samoa and Australia, are competing this week for the chance to confirm their spot in Tokyo next year, with the two pool winners to square off on Saturday in the Oceania Qualifying Final.

Tonga open their qualifying campaign against American Samoa on Thursday and will also take on Vanuatu, Nauru and Australia in pool play.

Head coach Tevita Tuʻifua said there was a lot at stake: "It is a very important tournament for us," he said. "Not only for our programme but for the future of Tongan sevens."

Tonga lament slow start against France

The 'Ikale Tahi were pipped 23-21 in Kumamoto last night, having trailed 17-0 just before half-time.

Tonga also gave Argentina a 28-point headstart last week and coach Toutai Kefu was at a loss to explain their sluggish beginnings.

"I don't know, it's a good question. The coaches talked about it straight away post-game - maybe we warm up for too long (laughing), I don't know. It's something we need to look at. I think it's probably just the mental thing because, as you can see, we finish a game really well so definitely an issue for us," Toutai Kefu said.