Toutai Kefu

RWC23: Kefu says doing their best is their focus against Ireland

Toutai Kefu is not moving too far ahead of the big challenge the 'Ikale Tahi have, but said they would focus on their games one at a time.

"There's a big responsibility on me to build the energy and have that flow, have it peak at the right time.

"I think Tongan fans demand a whole-hearted performance and a performance they can be proud of and that's certainly aligned with us," he told media in Croissy-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris.

Rugby World Cup 2023 Preview: Tonga

Toutai Kefu has built an impressive roster filled with World Cup experience in a quest to advance past the group stages for the first time.

They find themselves in a brutal group, although have the quality to match it with the best on their day.

How they qualified

Qualified as ‘Asia/Pacific 1’ after defeating Hong Kong 44-22 in the Asia/Pacific Playoff

Recent form

Tonga have built gradually into this year’s World Cup as they integrate a plethora of new talent.

2022 finished perfectly for the side with wins over Spain, Chile and Uruguay.

Kefu calls out on supporters to turn up and cheer on the Ikale Tahi team

Kefu said “Come down for the game, our second test versus Canada. So come down please and support the Ikale Tahi as they gear up for the Rugby World Cup.”

Kefu has also named seven debutants in his line- up for the game.

The debutants are Sione Tupou, John Ika, Paula Latu, Vutulongo Puloka, Christopher Hala’ufia, Feleti Inoke and Tasi Feke.

Tonga will be taking on Canada at 3pm (local time) this afternoon.



Tonga coach Toutai Kefu has a plan to topple world number ones Ireland

And the former Wallabies World Cup winner is confident that combination will help Tonga do more than just scare their rivals in a stacked group at the tournament in France later this year.

Kefu has spent three months of this year abroad, assessing his stocks plying their trade in Japan and Europe.

“We’re going to have a really good team, probably the best ever,” he said.

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.

Kefu welcomes changes to World Rugby eligibility rule

He's presided over some humiliating defeats, not least at the hands of the All Blacks, with Covid-19 restrictions forcing him to pick greatly weakened squads to meet the team's fixture commitments.

Then to add to his woes, Kefu and his family were subjected to a violent home invasion at their house in Brisbane, and his wife is still recovering from her injuries.

However, 2022 is set to bring new hope now World Rugby have made it possible at last for players tied to the likes of New Zealand and Australia to switch their allegiance to their countries of heritage.

Wallabies great Toutai Kefu reveals scary details about home invasion

The 47-year-old, was at home in the early hours of August 16 when three people broke into his family home in Coorparoo, Brisbane. 

Police charged four teenage boys with attempted murder and other offences, alleging they carried out the attack with an axe, a knife and a machete injuring Kefu's wife, son and daughter.

"There was blood everywhere at this stage, it was unbelievable," Kefu told the Please Explain podcast this week. "The police that came in could not believe the crime scene."

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu says family recovering well from attack

The 47 year-old, who played 60 tests for the Wallabies, was rushed to hospital in August with his wife Rachel and two of his children.

He underwent emergency surgery after being stabbed in the attack, while his wife had surgery on a deep cut to her arm.

Kefu said their physical wounds have pretty much healed but his wife's movement was still limited.

"She only just started her therapy on her hand so she can't move her hand at all yet, so we're hoping with some intense therapy over the next 6-12 months she can get close to full movement," he said.

Toutai Kefu set to miss Tonga's end of year tour as family heal

The former Wallabies number eight underwent emergency surgery last month after being stabbed in the attack, while his wife also had surgery on a deep cut to her arm.

Tonga Rugby Union CEO Peter Harding said Kefu remained involved in everything they are doing but was likely to remain at home in Brisbane.

"As it stands at the moment he won't be going (to the Northern Hemisphere) because of what happened. Obviously the family have a lot of healing I suppose - they have a lot of things to work through before things are back to normal," he said.

'It is sad' - Hopes Kefu will make Tonga tour as All Black welcomed onboard

Kefu’s wife remains in hospital with a serious wound to her arm but the former Australian World Cup winner has been released along with his son and daughter who were also injured in the machete and knife attack by four teenage robbers who now face various charges, including attempted murder. Kefu has revealed the impact of the horrific incident saying: “You know at times, there’s outbursts of crying. I think the first step for us is just getting back to the house and then we take it day-by-day. The kids seem to be OK, but they still need to be monitored probably moving forward.