Tonga rugby

Tonga look to make winning start v Baabaas

     

The 'Ikale Tahi will face a Baabaas squad that led 17-5 against the All Blacks last weekend before eventually sucumming 31-22.

The Barbarians have named a completely new forward pack from the team beaten at Twickenham, while Nic Stirzaker and Robert du Preez form a new halves pairing and Fiji-born Australia wing Taqele Naiyaravoro starts on the right wing in place of the injured Julian Savea.

The Tongan squad has been in Ireland for close to two weeks and coach Toutai Kefu said they were ready to get underway.

Taumalolo inspires trouncing

All the talk about the ex-New Zealand lock's controversial defection did not prove a distraction as Tonga cruised to a 50-4 win over Scotland in their Rugby League World Cup opener.

Taumalolo came up with the most runs (18) for his team, eating up 197 metres, making 19 tackles, and a line break in his 57 minutes on the field.

Tonga threatened to hammer the record books as much as the Bravehearts in their nine tries to one rout in front of 9216 fans.

Parramatta flyer Michael Jennings bagged a first half hat-trick, equalling the most in a Cup match by a Tongan.

Rugby league revolution rewriting Tonga's curriculum

On the field, the nation has attracted a host of NRL stars to turn their backs on Australia and New Zealand and opt instead to represent Tonga while, off it, the sport has been entrusted with revitalising the country's physical education curriculum.

Nehumi Vanisi and Johannsi Pataleone Vi are barely old enough to remember when rugby league was the most popular sport in Tonga. In the early 1990s, the 13-a-side code was king in the Kingdom, helped by the Pacific-focused administration of rugby league in Australia.

Taumalolo fired up for Tonga

The 24-year-old was named North Queensland's player of the year at the weekend, an honour that capped off a difficult week after he controversially turned his back on the Kiwis to play for Tonga at the looming tournament.

Taumalolo has had a hectic season but is adamant he still has the energy for test rugby league at the highest level and will do everything he can to help Tonga.

"I go into camp next week and I'm looking forward to another chapter in my international career. It should be an exciting World Cup," Taumalolo told the Townsville Bulletin.

Official Launch of Tonga's Kingdom Sevens

This tournament is not only for men but the introduction of women teams from across Tongatapu.

As the president for the Tonga Kingdom Seven Mrs Vanessa Heleta said that this tournament is not just racing for the first prize but for a way to support & nurtured local talents here in Tonga.

More than 20 teams have registered and ready to compete today, 6th October with several cash prizes to be won which proudly sponsored by Digicel Tonga and the UNWomen.

Inaugural Kingdom 7s kicks off in Tonga

Twenty teams will compete across the men's and women's senior competitions, as well as the women's under 19 divisions in Nuku'alofa.

Secretary of the organising committee, Iliesa Tora, said the event has been in the works for a number of years and was first mooted in 2013 by the late former Fiji and Tonga head coach Eddie Waqa.

"It's something that we hope to grow and the plan next year, already in the pipeline, is for next year to have three tournaments," he said.

Manu Samoa make three changes for Tonga match

In the only change to the backline, the Chiefs utility replaces D'Angelo Leuila at fullback after missing last week's 19-17 defeat by Wales in Apia through injury.

Head coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia has also had to make some enforced changes in the front row, with Piacenza prop Nephi Leatigaga earning his first test start in place of the injured Viliamu Afatia, while veteran Census Johnston remains unavailable.

Pakalani to debut for Tonga against Samoa

The 27-year-old will start at fullback, with David Halaifonua moved to the right wing, Nafi Tuitivake shifted to centre and captain Siale Piutau selected at second five, in place of Viliami Tahitu'a.

Super Rugby duo Siegfried Fisi'ihoi and Siua Halanukonuka also get a start in a beefed up front row, replacing Ben Tameifuna and Latu Talakai, for the opening match of the Pacific Nations Cup, which doubles as a Rugby World Cup qualifier.

Former Blues flanker Jack Ram has been named on the bench, after missing the 24-6 defeat by Wales two weeks ago through injury.

World Rugby to assess Tonga's Teufaiva Stadium

Work has finally begun on renovations to the ground, which is being refurbished for the 2019 Pacific Games.

The Papua New Guinea government has committed over US$15 million in support of the project.

The 'Ikale Tahi rugby team have not played on home soil since 2009 and a scheduled home test against Wales in June has been moved to New Zealand, with the field deemed unfit for play.

Head coach Toutai Kefu said the playing surface needs to be re-turfed which could take three to four months.

More Pacific rugby tests backed to close the gap

From 2020, there will be a big increase in matches between top and second-tier nations, including a commitment from England and France to play in the Pacific.

Southern Hemisphere teams have committed to hosting tier-two teams in the new July test window, while Six Nations sides have guaranteed to host a minimum of six matches against second-tier teams in November.

Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu said more test matches against tier one nations can only be good for Pacific Island countries.