Ikale Tahi

Tonga want to make history in France

The ‘Ikale Tahi’s place in Pool B at next year’s tournament was confirmed last Saturday when they defeated Hong Kong 44-22 in the Asia/Pacific 1 play-off at the Sunshine Stadium in Queensland, Australia.

With Ireland, the number one team in the World Rugby Men’s rankings powered by Capgemini, first up, in Nantes on 16 September, Tonga couldn’t have asked for a tougher start.

Tonga's Rugby Union excited about new 'Ikale Tahi players

It's a massive boost to the team ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with the likes of legendary players such as Israel Folau and Malakai Fekitoa.

With more expected to join at the end of the year, CEO Peter Harding, said it could be a turning point for Tongan rugby, which has long struggled to find top-level players.

Stars lining up to play for Ikale Tahi

The former All Black and Wallaby representatives were named in a team announcement by the Tonga Rugby Union today.

It is a historic moment for Pacific rugby, with eligibility rules now allowing Pacific Islanders players to play for their home countries.

'Ikale Tahi head coach Toutai Kefu said the selection will make a huge difference to the quality of Tongan rugby.

Rugby eligibility rule change makes Tonga the 'biggest winners'

A former Manu Samoa international says a change to World Rugby's eligibility rules will be beneficial to Pacific nations such as Tonga.

Tonga committed to Northern rugby tour

Manu Samoa's end of season tour was cancelled this week in line with the current health and travel advice from the Samoa Government.

Tonga is scheduled to kick off their Northern tour against Scotland at the end of the month before facing England, the French Barbarians and Romania in November.

Tonga Rugby Union CEO Peter Harding hopes to confirm a playing squad by the end of the week and are in the process of finalising their tour details.

"Samoa's made a very difficult decision," he said.

Teammates turned rivals in Tonga vs Cook Islands clash

It was only three weeks ago that 'Ikale Tahi lock Semisi Paea and Cook Islands centre Junior Raia were lining up alongside each other for Ngongotaha in the Bay of Plenty club competition.

Today both players will make their test match debut, but in different colours.

The 22 year old Paea was first called into the Tongan squad in the lead-up to their test against the All Blacks earlier this month and was surprised head coach Toutai Kefu even knew who he was.

Cook Islands dreaming big ahead of Tonga clash

The team was edged 31-24 by Tasman two weeks ago, in their first competitive match in three years, and outclassed 73-0 by the New Zealand Under-20s side on Saturday.

Meanwhile, an understrength 'Ikale Tahi suffered back-to-back defeats against Manu Samoa in their World Cup qualifier.

Cook Islands coach Nathan Robinson is a former Cook Islands international himself and said the squad has come a long way in the last few weeks.

"The cohesion has been really really good from day one," he said.

Samoa outclass Tonga in five-try win

After a physical but low-scoring first half, Samoa took a 6-3 lead into the break, with two Henry Taefu penalties offset by one from Tongan halfback Sonatane Takulua.

Taefu slotted another penalty soon after the restart, then hooker Ray Niuia was on hand out wide to finish some strong running and slick passing with Samoa's first try.

Five minutes later flanker Alamanda Motuga crashed over from close range to extend Samoa's lead to 21-3, only for Tonga to hit back almost immediately with a try to replacement flanker Villami Taulani.

Manu Samoa prepared to face a determined Ikale Tahi

And the Manu Samoa side is very much aware of this determination.

While it was a one-sided affair against 'Ikale Tahi last weekend, Manu Samoa coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua isn't underestimating the Tongan side, with the likes of Ben Tameifuna and Sam Vaka being added to the squad this week.

Tonga boss explains challenging build-up to All Blacks Test

‘Ikale Tahi were thrashed 102-0 by New Zealand in an embarrassing loss at Mt Smart Stadium, but it didn’t tell the whole story.

They were without their top players from Europe with Kefu scrambling around the Mitre 10 Cup to put a squad together.

There were 13 uncapped players in the 23-man outfit which faced the All Blacks and Kefu said that quarantine rules caused by Covid-19 forced them to bring in a number of new faces.