Tonga national rugby union team
The Tongan rugby union team represent Tonga at the international level in the sport of Rugby Union. It is classified by the World Association International Rugby Board (IRB ) in the second class strength ( second tier ). The team is called Ikale Tahi, which translates as " eagle " means. The responsible organization is the Tonga Rugby Football Union. As part of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, he organized sporadically Games of the Pacific Islanders, a common selection team of three Pacific States. Before each game, the Tongan dance the war dance Sipi Tau, similar to the Haka the All Blacks and the Siva Tau the Samoans.
In the early 20th century sailors and missionaries brought the Rugby sport in the South Pacific, 1923, the Tonga Rugby Football Union was founded. The first international match contested the Tongans in the capital Nukualofa against Fiji and went with 9:6 as the winner of the field. In the following decades, notably games against the Polynesian neighbors Samoa and Fiji were held. Especially the games against the Fijians developed into highly competitive feuds.
1969 defeated the Tongans, the team of New Zealand Māori. 1973 managed a 16:11 victory against Australia after the first game of the two teams had been won with 30:12 of the Australians. The first tour to the UK was in 1974. Among the ten games against regional selections from Wales and Scotland could only win the opening game against East Wales with 18:13.
Until 1986, the Tongans were an unknown quantity in Europe. This changed with the tour of the Welsh national team. Early in the game there was a mass brawl in which almost all players from both sides were involved. A year later, the first World Cup, the two teams met again. The Welsh spared because of the events before their most important player and won so narrowly with 29:16. Tonga also lost his other two group matches and was bottom of Group 2, still behind Canada and Ireland. In the following they missed qualifying for the World Cup 1991 in England.
In the 1995 World Cup the Tongans managed their first victory. After two defeats against France and Scotland, the final match against the Ivory Coast was won with 29:11. The Ivorian player Max Brito The momentous accident overshadowed the game. After just three minutes Brito fell after a tackle on the ground, several players landed on him and he lay unconscious. He was immediately taken to a hospital, where his life was saved, but he was paralyzed from the neck and sits in a wheelchair ever since.
The year 1999 brought a the greatest success for the Tongans. In Nukualofa they defeated the French at 20:16. In the same year, they were able again to qualify for the World Cup. Although you had to admit defeat to the British and New Zealanders, but they narrowly won against Italy with 28:25 and was third in the preliminary round group.
The following year there was a 0:102 against the New Zealand All Blacks the heaviest defeat of rugby union history of Tonga. In order to qualify for the 2003 World Cup in Australia, Tonga needed another shot. After defeats against Fiji and Samoa sat down against Papua New Guinea through and then had to compete against the Asian representatives from South Korea in the play-off. The two games dictated the Tongans clearly and took care of the biggest wins in its history with 75:0 and 119:0. The World Cup, they finished as the last of their group with four defeats against New Zealand, Wales, Italy and Canada. Against the All Blacks, there was again a painful and high defeat. In the third group game they lost with 7:91.
2007 has again succeeded in qualifying for the World Cup. This tournament is to date the most successful in the Tongan history. First, the United States were defeated with 25:15, but was an important victory against arch-rivals Samoa at 19:15 in Montpellier. After these two victories it Tonga had now to do with the hardest opponents in the group. In both games, against South Africa and England, the Tongans were nearly equivalent and had the favorites on the brink of defeat. In particular, the brief 25:30 defeat against eventual champions South Africa caused a great stir. Tonga was at the end of the third place in the group stage, which had automatically qualified for the World Cup 2011 in New Zealand. Here, too, came with two victories in the preliminary round Group A third place and qualification for the World Cup 2015.
Like many Pacific Rugby Teams performs also the Tongan team a war dance before every game, which is called by the locals Sipi Tau. Particularly spectacular was the performance of the team in the World Cup in 2003, when she met the All Blacks, who began their traditional haka and the Tongan with their Sipi Tau answered. Both teams came very close to each other and the atmosphere was hard to beat.
Results at World Championships
- World Cup 1987: Preliminary Round ( no win )
- World Cup 1991: not qualified
- World Cup 1995: Preliminary Round ( a victory )
- World Cup 1999: Preliminary Round ( a victory )
- World Cup 2003: Preliminary Round ( no win )
- World Cup 2007: Preliminary Round ( two wins)
- World Cup 2011: Preliminary Round ( two wins)
- Inoke Afeaki
- Ipolito Fenukitau
- Taufaao Filise
- Pierre Hola
- Nili Latu
- Aleki Lutui
- Hale T- Pole
- Epi Taione
- Tevita Taumoepeau
- Lesley Vainikolo
- Viliami Vaki