Tonga rugby

Fiji Warriors look to seal title defence

The hosts have maximum points after beating Tonga A and Junior Japan, and face Samoa A in today's final round-robin clash in Suva.

Tonga and Japan square off in the early match, with both teams needing to win big to draw level with Fiji on ten points.

They also need Samoa A to knock off the defending champions and deny them a bonus point.

Warriors coach Senirusi Seruvakula said they would not be letting up.

"We want to finish the competition on a high note and we're taking this game against Samoa very seriously."

Bristol to sign Tonga front row Sione Faletau and Edinburgh's Jack Cosgrove

Front row Faletau, 28, has three caps for his country and will join Mark Tainton's side from Yorkshire Carnegie.

Fellow prop Cosgrove, 22, is a former Scotland Under-20 international who is also eligible to play for England, and will arrive from the Pro 12 club.

"The Championship has some excellent players and Sione is in the prime of his career," said Bristol boss Tainton.

More tests, money needed to boost Pacific league teams

The Mate Ma'a will take on Fiji in May's Pacific Test, which has been boosted by the inclusion of England and the Cook Islands.

Woolf was excited by the growth of the international weekend.

"It's great to see that it's expanding and really good to see the Cook Islands involved - they've certainly deserved that for a while I think," he said.

"They were really competitive at the last World Cup and they were really hard for us to beat not that long ago in a World Cup qualifier as well.

Tonga rugby stadium being assessed for Wales' June 2017 tour

Medical and playing facilities are under review there.

Teufaiva Stadium in Nukuʻalofa is being rebuilt for the 2019 Pacific Games and WRU chairman Gareth Davies says the work may not be completed in time for Wales visit.

If the stadium does not meet criteria, Tonga will play Wales in New Zealand.

Samoa are also scheduled to host Wales on Saturday, 24 June.

Unbeaten tour a big boost for 'Ikale Tahi

The 'Ikale Tahi recorded just their fifth victory over a top tier nation as they upset Italy 19-17 in Padua.

The result built on earlier victories against Spain and the United States and marked the first time Tonga had gone undefeated on an end of year tour.

Head coach Toutai Kefu said the final performance had been building all tour.

"We had our best training week that week leading into the Italian test and we weren't too happy as a group with the way that we played in the games against Spain and USA," he said.

Tonga make one change for Italy clash

 David Halaifonua starts at fullback in place of Telusa Veainu, who was concussed in the 20-17 victory over the USA last weekend.

Captain Siale Piutau has recovered sufficiently from a knee-strain to take his place at centre.

Cooper Vuna is elevated to the reserves and is poised to make his 'Ikale Tahi debut, having previously played two tests for the Wallabies in 2012.

Tonga are attempting to complete an unbeaten trip, having defeated Spain and the USA in the past fortnight, while Italy are fresh from a shock victory against South Africa.

Tongan squad:

Tonga make mass changes for November rugby tour

RNZ reports nine players have been retained from the squad that was beaten by Fiji and Samoa during the Pacific Nations Cup in June.

Head coach Toutai Kefu said he much bigger pool of players to select from this time around.

"We didn't have access to the players we wanted for that PNC so, bar maybe three or four, it was always going to be if we got access to our best players or close to our best they would play in November," he said.

Tonga rugby says world funding came in nick of time

RNZI reports Tonga will play Fiji in their opener in Suva and the match comes as World Rugby released High Performance Unit and development funding that had been withheld since the start of the year over governance issues.

Fe'ao Vunipola says the Pacific Nations Cup, which doubles as World Cup qualifiers, is an important tournament so the funding is timely.

"It's important that we have a good start. Thank goodness we had the funds released and the boys had a three day camp and hopefully, God blessing, they can perform to their best," he said.

Tonga Rugby Union sets sights on 2019 World Cup, while investigations continue into previous regime

ABC reports a new coach for Ikale Tahi, the 15s squad, is due to be appointed next week and interim chairman, Fe'ao Vunipola, who played 34 times for his country, is poised to take over on a permanent basis.

He says the 10 year funding package agreed with World Rugby is a good foundation for the future, and now the primary objective is to ensure that Tonga secures a place at the next World Cup in Japan.


Sacked CEO slams management of rugby in Tonga

The Union receives annual funding of almost two million Tongan Pa'anga from World Rugby to run its High Performance Unit and development fund.

But the game's governing body suspended all financial support at the start of January and will arrive in Tonga tomorrow for three days of talks with the interim TRU administration and the Tonga government.