(Photo Credit: Jeremy Brennan @ J.B Photography)
The relationship between the Queensland Tonga and the Willie-O NSW Tonga rugby union programs will officially be sealed, with a historic exhibition game between a special Queensland Tonga Fa’aleo XV and the current Willie O Cup champions Manly.
The game will be held on Sunday 9th October in Brisbane and will act as the official NRC curtain raiser between Brisbane City and Queensland County on the hallowed turf of Ballymore Stadium, the traditional home of Queensland Rugby Union.
The match will hold special significance not just for the Queensland Tonga and Willie O NSW Tonga rugby programs that work under the Australia Tonga Felenite umbrella, it will also be a special occasion for the the Queensland Tongan community in general.
Queensland Tonga’s women have also been pencilled in to play the women of Brisbane Fiji in what shapes to be an end to end battle of free flowing 7’s rugby.
Current Ikale Tahi coach and legitimate Queensland Wallaby great Toutai Kefu is currently coaching the Queensland Country NRC squad and a number of Tongans like Brisbane City captain Sam Talakai and Queensland Country star Taniela Tupou are involved across both NRC squads.
Not to be upstaged, the Manly squad will bring with them a vast number of players with both current and previous NRC and International experience of their own.
Players like Kotoni Ale, former Ikale Tahi representative Paula Kaho and former Wallaby Wycliff Palu are expected to fly into Queensland and will add significant star power to one of the Willie O Cup’s traditional powerhouse teams.
The clash will also act as an official audition for the Queensland Tongan players to make an impression to be chosen for the Australian Tongan Felenite team that will be picked at the conclusion of this year’s Willie O Cup tournament and will coached by former Wallaby David Lyons and former NRC Head Coach Peter Playford.
The Australia Tonga team will take on the New Zealand Tonga Siutaka team in Sydney on November 5th.
For more information keep an eye on the official Queensland Tonga Rugby Union Facebook page.