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This morning the team commenced training at Kerikeri Rugby Football Club in preparation for Tonga vs France on 01-10-11. Training was a 2 hours of vigorous fitness and full physical contact activities which took its toll on some of the players. Kurt Morath and Fetuu Vainikolo did not participate in today’s training and still recovering from injuries sustained from Tonga vs Japan game, they were taken through by the physio on a separate circuit training schedule.

From the training Viliami Maafu (neck) and Samisoni Fisilau (leg) sustained injures from the physicalcontact sessions and are to be assessed by the medical staff but thankfully the majority of the team came through training without any further injures.

In the afternoon a free afternoon for team members there were several Rest & Recreational activities available for the team to participate in should they wish to i.e. Golf, Fishing, Parasailing, and Kayaking.

Tomorrow daylight saving begins in New Zealand moving one hour forward to be on the same time as Tonga Standard Time. The team has been invited to a church service with the Kerikeri community and luncheon provided at Kerikeri as well.

The remainder of Sunday is a day of rest for the team.


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On 21-09-11 evening I sat at Whangarei Event Centre with 18,000 strong rugby fans screaming, shouting, and cheering fans for Tonga and Japan.

There could only be one winner tonight for the winner the accolades of victory, and the loser the failure of another Rugby World Cup campaign.

Standing at the entrance tunnel I felt peace and calmness within although in my heart I could see and feel the disappointment and anguish in the Japanese players, management, and supporters faces. The dream of a successful Rugby World Cup campaign coming to an erupt end and in the eightieth minute.Looking at the Tongan management and International Rugby Board personnel standing alongside me I could see the broad smiles on their faces. Handshakes where made well before the eightieth minute when the end result was evident who were the victors.

The sound of the long whistle blown by the referee in the eightieth minute signalled the end of a week-long of torment & heart ache for the Tongan team, and five years of winless games against Japan.

The week-long preparation by the team begun slowly in Paihia and Whangarei, after Tonga lostto Canada in a test match that Tonga was expected by many for Tonga to win in their round two RWC pool play, there was a lot of soul searching and much doubt in our capabilities within the team to be competitive against Japan’s superior rugby technique, skills and fitness.

This evening all the negativity and doubts were dispelled and the rugby history books recorded the Ikale Tahi 31 beat Japan 18victorious in Whangarei Event Centre.




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The non 22 players were requested to make several public appearances throughout Whangarei hence the group of 8 players were divided into two teams group 1: Finau Maka, Thomas Palu, William Helu and Alaska Taufa visited:

  • Whangarei Primary School (AM)
  • Kamo Intermediate School (PM)

Group 2: Ephraim Taukafa, Viliami Iongi, Kisi Pulu and Sione Timani visited:

  • Ranburn Homes at Waipu (AM)
  • Pompallier College at Whangarei (PM)

I had joined group 1 in their public appearances. The players were well received by the Whangarei Primary School children with a Kapa Hakaperformance and the player’s responded with a brief speech from William Helu thanking the school for a tremendous welcome by the students.

The players then joined the students in a light rugby drills which everyone enjoyed thoroughly. The players then continued to sign many autographs for the students.

In the afternoon after a brief luncheon the players journeyed onto Kamo Intermediate School and were welcomed by senior class with a Haka, Thomas Palu responded on behalf of the group by thanking the students for their warm welcome. The players progressed onto visitingClass 3 who won the school competition to host Ikale Tahi players for their visitto their school.

The last International team to visit Whangarei was the 1971 British Lions so the Rugby World Cup has brought 3 international teams to Whangarei to play 2 international test matches at Whangarei Event Centre was a historical event for the Whangarei region.

The Tongan team has been adopted by Whangarei as its team because Tonga plays its 2 test matches in Whangarei. Tonga vs Japan will be the last Rugby World Cup 2011 played in Whangarei and there is uncertainty if any future international test matches shall be played in Whangarei.

The whole day was thoroughly enjoyed by the players and their camera man.


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The team returned from Paihia (Scenic Hotel) to Whangarei (Kingsgate Hotel) to prepare for theirPool A,3rd round game Tonga vs Japan on 21st September at Northland Event Centre.

The team trained in the afternoon at the Marist Rugby Football Club field from 1630 until 1800, the whole team trained well with the exception of Finau Maka (bruised ribs) and Thomas Palu (calf strain). Finau looks unlikely to start this game or even make the bench but should return against France.

At 1900 the team announcementfor Tonga vs Japan kick-off at 19:30 (NZST) as follows:

No:                               Position:           Name:
1                                    Prop                   Soane Tongauiha
2                                    Hooker             Aleki Lutui (C)
3                                    Prop                   Taufaao Filise
4                                    Lock                   Tukulua Lokotui
5                                    Lock                   Paino Hehea
6                                    Flanker             Sione Kalamafoni
7                                    Flanker             Sione Vaiomounga
8                                    Number 8        Viliami Maafu
9                                    Halfback           Taniela Moa
10                                 First five           Kurt Morath
11                                  Wing                   Sukanaivalu Hufanga
12                                 Second five     Alipate Fatafehi
13                                 Centre               Siale Piutau
14                                 Wing                  Fetuu Vainikolo
15                                 Fullback           Vungakoto Lilo (VC)
16                                 Reserve            Ilaisia Maasi
17                                 Reserve            Alisona Taumalolo
18                                 Reserve            Halani Aulika
19                                 Reserve            Joseph Tuineau
20                                Reserve            Samiu Vahafolau
21                                 Reserve            Samisoni Fisilau
22                                 Reserve           Andrew Mailei

With both teams winless after two rounds in Pool A. Both teams are eager to register their first win in the tournament.

Isitolo Maka and his selection panel have kept their faith with the in-form players that have performed well against New Zealand and Canada. Tonga will have to play 80 minutes of Rugby to beat Japan come Wednesday night.



‘Etoni Tonga – Team Media Manager – Mobile: 0275066531


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The ‘Ikale Tahi Head Coach, ‘Isitolo Maka has selected the following players to play against
Japan this Wednesday 21 September at the Northlands Events Centre in Whangarei:

1 Soane Tonga’uiha
2 ‘Aleki Lutui, Captain
3 Taufa’ao Filise
4 Tukulua Lokotui
5 Paino Hehea
6 Sione Kalamafoni
7 Sione Vaiomo’unga
8 Viliami Ma’afu
9 Taniela Moa
10 Kurt Morath
11 Sukanaivalu Hufanga
12 ‘Alipate Fatafehi
13 Siale Piutau
14 Fetu’u Vainikolo
15 Vungakoto Lilo, Vice Captain


16 ‘Ilaisia Ma’asi
17 ‘Alisona Taumalolo
18 Halani ‘Aulika
19 Joe Tu’ineau
20 Samiu Vahafolau
21 Samisoni Fisilau
22 Andrew Ma’ilei

The ‘Ikale Tahi returned today to Whangarei after spending 4 days at Paihia, and being
accommodated at the Scenic Hotel.

The team trained last Friday at the Bledisloe Domain in Paihia and on Saturday at Kerikeri.
On Saturday afternoon the team caught the ferry from Paihia to Russell, the first capital of
New Zealand where they consumed a number of oysters and other local delicacies during the Russell
Oyster Festival.

On Sunday the team attended a church service organised by the Okaihau Tongan Community
and local business and community groups. Those attending were Tongans from neighbouring towns
such as Dargaville, Kerikeri and Whangarei. The church service was held at the Okaihau College Hall
and the luncheon was held at the Okaihau Town Hall. During the luncheon ‘Emosi Koloto and Frank
Koloi presented monetary gifts directly to the Captain, Finau Maka, collected from kava clubs in

P.O BOX 369, Salote Rd, Fasi moe Afi, Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of TONGA
T: +676 26 045 or 26 044

The team will return to Paihia on Thursday after playing Japan, and then will travel down to
Wellington next Monday 26 September to prepare for their final pool phase game against France on
Saturday 1 October.

New Bank Account for Public Appeal for Donations

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The Tonga Rugby Union Authority is pleased to inform the public that it has established a new bank account with the Westpac Bank of Tonga so that businesses and members of the public can deposit donations directly to the preparation of the ‘Ikale Tahi for the Rugby World Cup 2011.

The name of the bank account is “”Tonga Rugby Union Authority - RWC 2011 Fund Raising Account”.

The number of the account is: 2000836458.

The Authority wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Fine Tohi and Dateline Transam Shipping, the family of the late ‘Ikale Tahi legend, SiaosiSelupe II, and KalafiMoala and Taimi Media Network, for sponsoring the Authority’s television and radio programmes.

The Authority continues to invite businesses to support its fund raising efforts.

Faka’apa’apa atu

Tonga Rugby Union Authority

6 April 2011


For any further inquiries, contact:

Mr ‘Aminiasi Kefu
Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors
Salote Road, Fasimoeafi
Telephone: (676) 26 044 (Office) / (676) 7715314

Keep Rugby Clean

Tonga Rugby Union supports the Keep Rugby Clean campaign

Official RWC 2011 Team

16. Kurt Stanley MORATH 28. Latu Alipate H. Naqasima FATAFEHI 7. Joseph Mark Laifone TU'INEAU 22. Vungakoto Filimone LILO 14. Samisoni FISILAU 17. Viliame Volavola 'IONGI 18. Andrew Kautonga MA'ILEI 24. Sione Lamipeti Ngalu TIMANI 10. Finau MAKA 5. Tukulua 'Atu LOKOTUI 15. Thomas Ta'ufo'ou PALU 4.  Halani 'AULIKA 26. 'Unaloto ki Pulotu Vea TEUTAU a.k.a Taniela MOA 27. Fetu'umoana VAINIKOLO 21. Sione Fale ki he Fohe VAIOMO'UNGA 2. Faka'anaua ki 'Alisona TAUMALOLO 9. Samiu Kaufusi VAHAFOLAU 20. Sukanaivalu Ikavuka HUFANGA 6. Kelekolio Paino HEHEA 3. Kisi PULU 25. William Fetu'ufuka Ukumaki Aorere HELU