TRU names ‘Ikale Tahi team as Tongan players gear up for three date European tournament

TRU names ‘Ikale Tahi team as Tongan players gear up for three date European tournament

The ‘Ikale Tahi is heading for Spain at the end of this month to prepare for matches with Spain, the United States and Italy.

The Tongan Rugby Union has announced the names of the 30 players for the team, which will be captained by Siale Piutau.

The team includes 12 former internationals consists of 26 overseas players chosen by Head Coach Toutai Kefu and four players picked from the Tongatapu local competition.

Radio New Zealand International has reported that only nine players remain from the squad that was beaten by Fiji and Samoa during the Pacific Nations Cup in June.

Piutau has played 28 tests for the ‘Ikale Tahi  and competed in two Rugby World Cups.

Matt O’Connor has been named as Assistant Coach.  He was formerly with Leicester Tigers and Leinster before taking on the job of interim head coach with Queensland Reds Super Rugby.

TRU Chairman and Interim CEO Fe’ao Vunipola with Lano Fonua as the Team Manager.

The Tongans will take on Spain on November 12, the United States on November 19 and Italy on November 26.

The full squad is:

  1. Tevita Mailau – Perpignan – prop
  2. Ben Tameifuna – Racing Metro – prop
  3. Sila Puafisi – Glasgow Warriors – prop
  4. Siua Halanukonuka – Otago Highlanders – prop
  5. Sona Taumalolo – Grenoble – prop
  6. Paula Ngauamo – Mont de Marsan – hooker
  7. Elvis Taione – Exeter Chiefs – hooker
  8. Sione Lea – Taranaki – hooker/prop
  9. Joe Tuineau – Dax – lock
  10. Steve Mafi – Castres – lock
  11. Albert Harisin Manu Tuilatai Laufilitonga Kakau Mataele – lock
  12. Vainanuma Manu – Marist ‘Apifo’ou – lock
  13. Jack Ram – Auckland Blues – loose forward
  14. Tevita Koloamatangi – Waikato Chiefs – loose forward/lock
  15. Dan Faleafa – Sc Albi – loose forward/lock
  16. Valentino Mapapalangi – Manawatu Turbos-loose forward/lock
  17. Bill Fukofuka – Southland – lose forward
  18. Sione Lolohea – Sila Pelu Ua -number eight/hooker-
  19. Sonatane Takulua – Newcastle Falcons – halfback
  20. Thomas Palu – wellington lions – halfback
  21. Sosefo Ma’ake – Havelu Bulldogs – halfback
  22. Latiume Fosita – Auckland – inside back
  23. Kali Hala – Counties – inside back
  24. Siale Ppiutau – Yamaha – inside back – (captain)
  25. Tevita Taufui – Waikato – outside back
  26. Fetuu Vainikolo – Oyonnax – outside back
  27. Cooper Vuna – Oyonnax – outside back
  28. Nafi Tuitavake – Northampton Saints – outside back
  29. Telusa Veainu – Leicester Tigers-outside back
  30. Fetuli Paea – Sila Pelu Ua-outside back

And the next players are…

While the Tongan national team is preparing for its European matches, the next batch of ‘Ikale Tahi  players may be competing at Ballymore in Brisbane this weekend.

Queensland Tonga and the Manly Marlins will play a curtain raiser at Ballymore before the main  Brisbane City-Queensland Country game.

The Marlins won this year’s Willie O Cup, a New South Wales-based tournament designed to keep young Tongan players in the game.

Tongan coach Toutai Kefu, who trains the  Queensland Country side said he would keep an eye out for players with the potential to represent the kingdom during the afternoon.

“It’s very important for me just to get a view point on what potential is there,” he told Montanna Clare of rugby.com.au

Kefu said competitions like the Willie O Cup allowed players to continue to develop.

Willie O Cup includes 10 teams from across NSW and runs from the October 22 until November 26.

The main points

  • The ‘Ikale Tahi is heading for Spain at the end of this month to prepare for matches with Spain, the United states and Italy.
  • The Tongan Rugby Union has announced the names of the 30 players for the team, which will be captained by Siale Piutau.
  • The team consists of 26 overseas players chosen by Head Coach Toutai Kefu and four players picked from the Tongatapu local competition.
  • The Tongans will take on Spain on November 12, the United States on November 19 and Italy on November 26.

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