Queensland Tonga Rugby Union is proud to announce its newest batch of rugby Internationals to graduate from its female rugby program, with Mele Akuila, Vetekina Fangaloka and Kayla Tukuafu selected into the women’s Tongan national 7’s team to play in the upcoming Noosa Oceania 7’s tournament.
The three women will be part of the team that will go up against New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Samoa, PNG, and the Cook Islands and will provide a valuable opportunity to further develop their skills in a high quality environment against the highest quality opposition.
The trio join a special list, alongside decorated Wallaroos player Caroline Vakalahi as internationals that have come out of the Queensland Tonga program where the trio’s selection acts a great validation of the work being done by the QTRU to promote women’s rugby talent from within the community and providing legitimate alternative pathways for Tongan women to follow in Queensland.
Speaking with Queensland Tonga’s women’s head coach Motekiai Kite, the head coach was adamant that this landmark occasion was an indication of the real and meaningful pathway now available to Tongan girls if they are willing to get involved in the sport of rugby union. The coach advised that the selection of the Queensland Tongan trio is a credit to the girls for their commitment and willing hearts to work hard to represent our humble community.
“Mele Akuila’s selection is true reward for her perseverance and persistence. Mele’s selection also displays her undying loyalty to the program and how far she’s come being one of the main stalwarts of the QTRU program since its inception.”
“Vetekina’s selection is a reward for her overall commitment and passion to her football. You can be sure that type of dedication will ensure wherever the young utility is thrown in, she will not let anyone down. Whilst Kayla’s selection is based on her potential as a player of the future after her strong form in the women’s premier rugby competition with her club side, as well as her strong displays whilst in the QTRU program after only recently taking up the sport.”
The girls will assemble with the full squad on the 30th of September when the remainder of the squad arrives in Brisbane with Tonga 7’s head coach Maopa Latu, where the entire squad will then head to their base in Noosa. From there, the Tongan team will then see out the completion of their preparation, before the tournament takes place between October 3rd-5th.
The trio’s selection is not just an endorsement of themselves, their families and their community, but also acts as a massive encouragement to the talent that still remains to be discovered from within the female Tongan community in Queensland, and what is truly achievable if females who want to play rugby have the courage to step forward, make use of their gifts and work away on their craft. There is no doubt, that in the beginning it took the same moment of self belief to kick start Mele, Vetekina, and Kayla’s journey as rugby players too and is all that is needed to discover the next batch of graduates waiting out there in the community. Congratulations to Mele, Vetekina and Kayla from all of the Queensland Tonga Rugby family.