Tonga rugby

Tonga and Samoa keen to be back on the field

The match was meant to take place in Apia in April but was postponed due to Covid-19.

A final date and venue is yet to be confirmed but RNZ Pacific understands the qualifying match will be held on November 14th at the 2021 World Cup venue Waitakere Stadium.

Tonga assistant coach, Sione Pulu, said their squad is excited to get back on the field again after a dramatic campaign which involved a measles outbreak, visa entry complications and a global pandemic. (links)

"I think we're still lucky it's going ahead," he said.

Tonga's funding to be reinstated

World Rugby had cut its funding to the union in May pending a review into governance and administrative concerns which included "outstanding domestic legal matters" and the lack of properly audited financial settlements.

A new committee will oversee a roadmap for the operating structure of the union until the end of 2024.

"The Tonga Rugby Union's challenges are well documented and we have been working with all parties to identify and agree a roadmap to return Tonga to where it deserves to be, on and off the field," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement.

Tonga supports Oceania’s Women rugby initiative

The kingdom will be celebrating the progress of women and girls in rugby.

Tonga Women's Rugby Union Vice Chair, Fehoko Tu'ivai said they are happy that women in rugby are being acknowledged and highlighted this month.

She commended Oceania Rugby for its initiative, which Tonga supports as a union member.

The initiave provides a platform for new talent to join rugby.

TWRU Board members include President Fanetupouvavau Tu'ivakano, Vice-President Vanessa Heleta, Chairlady 'Aisiena Taumoepeau, Vice Chair Fehoko Tu'ivai and Secretary Savelina Pale.

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.