Tonga National Rugby Union Team
All of the Pacific rugby nations bring something special to the game, and for a country with such a small playing population, Tonga’s influence has been huge. Their physicality and adventure on the field has won them admirers the world over, while Tonga’s fans bring the passion and excitement that their national sport deserves. All those feelings come together in the team’s famous pre-match Sipi Tau: a ritual no less intense than the All Blacks’ haka. The Sea Eagles are soaring high, so look for the latest Tonga Rugby Union Tickets on StubHub!
Tonga Rugby – more than just a game
What do Taulupe Faletau, Israel Folau, Malakai Fekitoa and Billy Vunipola have in common? The answer is easy – they’re all of Tongan descent – but the questions it raises are more difficult. The Tongan islands have produced some brilliant sportsmen in both rugby codes, but countries such as Australia, New Zealand and England can offer higher standards of club competition and more regular Test rugby. Bigger nations continue to benefit from Tonga’s grassroots talent, as the Islanders push to remain competitive on the international stage.
Changes in tackling laws and scrummaging technique could easily have blunted Tonga’s hard-hitting game, but the Sea Eagles remain a formidably physical side. With the battering power of their forwards, a willingness to offload and an expansive passing game, they’re always a threat in attack. Tonga continue to compete with distinction in the Pacific Nations Cup, where they’re joined by ‘local’ rivals Fiji and Samoa, and the emerging talents of Canada, Japan and the USA. However, their most memorable performances have come on a bigger stage.
Tonga rugby union - big-match memories
France faced Tonga in the 2011 World Cup needing only a losing bonus point. In the end, it was all they got. In the first half, a rampaging break by Ma’afu gave the Sea Eagles the field position for a magnificent cross-field kick. On the wing, Sukanaivalu Hufanga not only gathered the bouncing ball, but had the nimbleness and strength to hold off France’s giant flanker Julien Bonnaire. Ultimately, it was Kuth Morath’s place kicking that kept the game out of reach for Les Bleus. The game's defining image was of Tongan hooker Aleki Lutui and prop Sona Taumalolo, in the closing minutes, relishing the physical battle and whooping and grinning as they urge the French to opt for an attacking scrum.
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