Tonga rugby

Tonga names 11 debutants in line-up to face Fiji

Amongst these players are rugby stars, Israel Folau, Malakai Fekitoa and Charles Piutau.

The other players that will be making their debut are Veikoso Poloniati, William Havili, Anzelo Tu’itavuki, Sosefo Apikotoa, Sione Havili, Lotu Inisi, Manu Paea and Tima Fainga’anuku.

Tonga will play against Fiji at 3pm (Fiji Time) on Saturday at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Tonga Squad:

Former All Black Charles Piutau excited about upcoming match against Fiji

Piutau is excited about the showdown against their Pacific Island brothers, who displayed their best performance at their first ever Super Rugby.

“The style of rugby they play is exciting and some of the tries they scored are just amazing. And as a fan watching it, I still remember the 100m try they scored just goes to show the talent they have.”

Having played a few seasons at the Bristol Bears with Semi Radradra, Piutau is expecting more players with similar qualities from the Flying Fijians. 

Toutai Kefu praises Super Rugby effort to support Tonga relief work

January's volcanic eruption sent a tsunami crashing onto Tonga's coastline, causing widespread damage which only got worse when the falling ash settled.

Almost 90 per cent of Tonga's 86,000 residents are said to be affected and now in need of assistance, according to the Red Cross.

Former Wallaby-turned Tongan coach Kefu's phone has been running hot ever since a charity game ahead of the Reds' season-opener at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday was announced.

‘Tonga will welcome back Israel Folau’ – Aleki Lutui

The disgraced former Wallaby was sacked by Rugby Australia for posting homophobic comments in an Instagram post in 2019.

Folau then fought a significant legal battle with the governing body, which was eventually settled in December of that year.

In 2020, he returned to rugby league – the sport where his professional career began – and signed a deal with Catalan Dragons.

The 32-year-old was released from his contract in 2021 and returned to Australia, citing ‘personal reasons’, but has since joined Japanese rugby union outfit Shining Arcs.

Tonga rugby player Taniela Moa passes way

The kingdom’s rugby union announced Moa’s passing away on its official Facebook page a short time ago.  

“A stalwart of Ikale Tahi Tonga rugby who will now have his named etched among the echelons of the legendary greats. Such sad news to receive about the passing of Taniela Moa.”

“We would like to send our love and deepest condolences to his family through this sad and tragic time. May he fly high among God’s army and look over you all.”

Moa was playing for the French rugby club Section Paloise.

'I'll put my hand up for Tonga': Ngani Laumape eyes test rugby switch

The prospect of Laumape turning out for the ‘Ikale Tahi has been made possible by World Rugby after the game’s global governing body voted for a law change last month that enables test-capped players to represent a second country they are eligible for through birthright following a three-year stand down period.

That change in ruling, which comes into effect in January, means Laumape will become eligible for Tonga, his parents’ homeland, in 2023 – provided he doesn’t make an international comeback with New Zealand before then.

New rules could see Israel Folau's international return with Tonga

The world governing body approved a major amendment to their eligibility policy on Wednesday which will allow players to switch countries more easily from next January.

It looks set to pave the path for the likes of Folau, one of the Wallabies’ most outstanding backs who was sacked by Australia over homophobic social media posts, to launch a second international career thanks to his Tongan heritage.

And the move could prove a huge boon for developing rugby nations – particularly the Pacific Island sides Tonga, Samoa and Fiji – in time for the 2023 World Cup in France.

Charles Piutau confirms intention to switch nationality to represent Tonga

Piutau, who was born in Auckland and won 17 caps for the All Blacks, is a high-profile beneficiary of a major change to rugby union's international eligibility rules.

And the Bristol back hopes it starts a revolution in Pacific Island rugby.

"I'm really happy for the Pacific nations," Piutau said.

The 30-year-old told the BBC's Sports Desk podcast: "It's not the answer to everything - it's just the start.

Tonga make five changes side facing Romania

Winger Latu Latunipulu will make his test debut on the right wing, after playing 30 minutes off the bench against the French Barbarians.

Walter Fifta will start in fullback, with Navarre Haisila dropping to the bench.

There are three changes up front. Dan Faleafa replaces Setefano Funaki in the second row, Onehunga Havili comes in for Tanginoa Halaifonua on the blindside flank and Fotu Lokotui starts at number eight in place of Lopeti Timani.

Tonga makes changes to side to take on French Barbarians

Siua Maile will start at hooker, with Paula Ngauamo dropping to the bench.

Setofano Funaki will be coming in at lock, with Tanginoa Halaifonua shifting to the blindside flank and Lopeti Timani moving to number eight.

James Faiva will direct proceedings from first five, with Vaea Vaea getting the nod at 12, pushing Afusipa Taumoepeau to centre.

Bourg-en-Bresse winger Latu Latunipulu is also poised to make his international debut off the bench.