Mate Ma’a Tonga

Anticipation is growing ahead of next month’s clash between Mate Ma’a Tonga and New Zealand, with news that Tēvita Pangai jnr will play for the kingdom.

Pangai has turned
down a potential $90,000 State of Origin matches and will receive jut $3000 for
the clash at Mt Smart Stadium on June 22.

Pangai has
played four tests for Tonga, including Tonga’s game against Australia.

The June 22
fixture is part of the Oceania Cup which features two pools, with New Zealand
Kiwis, Australian Kangaroos and Mate Ma’a Tonga in Pool A and Toa Samoa, Fiji
Bati and the Papua New Guinea Kumuls in Pool B.

While Mate Ma’a Tonga are showing their mettle in the Mt Smart Stadium, across the Ditch, Toa Samoa will play Papua New Guinea Kumuls in another Oceania Cup match and Fiji Bati will take on Cook Islands at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in Sydney.

Mate Ma’a
Tonga has stunned the world’s top tier teams with it performance in recent
years.

Even its
loss to Australia was seen as a step on the way to the upper reaches of the
game.

Mate Ma’a
Tonga owes much of its success to players from the Australian and New Zealand
leagues such as Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita and Sio Siua Taukeiaho who chose
to play for the kingdom.

Fifita said
Mate Ma’a Tonga had created “something really good for international footy,”

“The
pinnacle of our game is to play for your country.”

Tonga’s
coach, Kristian Woolf said he was delighted that Mate Ma‘a would have the
opportunity to face New Zealand again after beating them in Hamilton in 2017.

“It’s a
terrific grudge match and one that both teams will be right up for and really
looking forward to,” Woolf said.

Woolf said
the way fans had supported Mate Ma’a Tonga in the last two years was
unbelievable.

“We really
appreciate the support and while it’s played in New Zealand, we certainly want
to make it feel like a home game for Tonga as well,” Woolf said.

New Zealand
Rugby League chief executive Greg Peters said the game would be played in “the
heartland of rugby league – South Auckland” and expected Tongans to flood in
and support the game.

Peters said
the Oceania Cup was a big chance for Pacific Island nations to build on their
impressive performances in recent years.

“A big
part of this is obviously embracing and respecting the contribution of Pacific
Island players to rugby league in New Zealand,” he said.

Lions

The Oceania
Cup will not be the Tongan team’s only international exposure this year.

Mate Ma’a
Tonga will also face the touring British Lions in Hamilton on October 26 before
taking on world champions Australia on November 2 as part of an international
triple header at Eden Park. The event will also feature New Zealand against the
British tourists and Toa Samoa taking on the Fiji Bati.

The Lions
are touring the southern hemisphere for the first time in 13 years and will
also play Papua New Guinea.

Women’s opener

The June 22
clash will be a Pacific double header as the Kiwi Ferns play the Fetu Samoa
womens team as part of a blockbuster Pacific double header.

The Kiwi
Ferns-Fetu Samoa match kicks off at 5pm.

The women’s
match will be the first time the two Pacific rivals have clashed in 11 years,
with the Kiwi Ferns winning the last match between the two nations at the 2008
Women’s Rugby League World Cup in Brisbane.

Doors open at
Mt Smart at 4pm.  Mate Ma’a Tonga and New
Zealand are expected to take the field about 7.30pm

The
main points

  • Anticipation
    is growing ahead of next month’s clash between Mate Ma’a Tonga and New Zealand,
    with news that Tevita Pangai jnr will play for the kingdom.
  • Pangai
    has turned down a potential $90,000 State of Origin matches and will receive
    jut $3000 for the clash at Mt Smart Stadium on June 22.
  • Mate
    Ma’a Tonga has stunned the world’s top tier teams with it performance in recent
    years.

Fonte: https://kanivatonga.nz/2019/05/anticipation-grows-for-terrific-grudge-match-against-australia-at-mt-smart-on-june-22/

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