Topic: Rugby League World Cup

Tonga has sights on another tier-one scalp

By Eru Paranihi
  • Auckland

Tonga has their sights on another tier-one nation scalp as they prepare for their Rugby League World Cup Semi-final match with England on Saturday night.

Sio Suia Taukeiaho credits their success to the overwhelming support from their fans.

“Them just signing their songs gave us goose bumps. That's probably one of the reasons why a few of the boys left other countries to come play for Tonga because we know the fans will always turn up.”

It was a jovial Tonga who turned out to today's training on Mount Smart number three, with the boys from the Pacific believing that they can claim another tier-one nation scalp.

“All the boys are excited about this week. I think it's because we're getting another opportunity to play in the semi-finals in the world cup. Other than that, we know we've got a big task on us against England. They've got a big forward pack, their backs have been extraordinary well,” says Taukeiaho.  

The majority of the England side is made up of UK Super League players. Tonga will need to adjust to their style accordingly as many of their opposition so far have been made up of Australasian based players from the NRL.

Former Warriors player Siliva Havili says, “I wouldn't say it's just a normal game. 13 men with one ref, which is suitable for both teams, and it's not as fast pace as the NRL.”

There's no doubt who Tonga would like to meet in the final should they topple England at Mount Smart Stadium.

Says Taukeiaho, “When we saw the score [which was] 4-2, it was just [a shock]. It's good to have another Pacific Island team make it as far as us. Hopefully, we get to meet in the finals.”

With tickets prices so low, Mount Smart stadium is expected to sell out for Tonga's historic match against England.