The Queensland Tonga Rugby Union program will cap its sixth year of work in the community with arguably its most significant milestone to date… a first ever international tour and clash against international opposition.
Successful negotiations with the Hong Kong Rugby Union have allowed a historic opportunity for both the Queensland Tonga male and female fifteen a side teams to take place October 14th in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong rugby union will use both fixtures as lead up clashes leading into their 2017 Cup of Nations campaign, hoping to go that elusive final step to claim this year’s title after finishing second to Russia over the past two years.
Queensland Tonga Rugby Union president James Kite advised the program will primarily use the clash to keep fostering talented Tongan rugby union players and their loyalty to the code in the community, but also to continue doing its small part to strengthen grassroots rugby talent and interest in general.
“With the game in such dire straits here in Australia, as a grassroots organisation, we feel its particularly important to be proactive and find fixtures that do not only promote the best possible opportunities for our players but also to reinvigorate interest in the game in our corner of the community.”
“We also look at this first ever historic tour for such a humble community group such as ours, as most importantly providing an integral life experience for our players off the field, many of whom have never gone outside the confines of Australia or New Zealand or been to a country where English is not the first language.”
Both male and female squads will contain a strong Queensland Tongan flavour but will also include players who will be invited from other communities to take part in the historic tour.
“The Queensland Tonga program has always been a strong advocate of maintaining strong Pacific values one of those, centred around sharing whenever it gets an opportunity, so we all win, and as such have seen fit to invite players from other sections of the community.”
“For many of the players, this will perhaps be their only opportunity to ever go head to head against international opposition and is one of the many reasons why this clash is such an important one to be taken advantage of.”
Kite was also under no illusions as to what lay ahead to make the significant event a reality, but was confident that the rugby community that has copped such a battering in the headlines, could use this as just one opportunity to show just how powerful the rugby community could be if more focus and appreciation was given to grassroots ventures.
“We can focus on all the negatives and dwell on how far behind we are here, or we can do something about it. I’m confident there will be portions of the community who are die hard rugby fans and are just waiting on an opportunity to prove their worth and will get behind our cause.”
With this in mind, the journey to Hong Kong has now officially begun.