The importance of the Hong Kong rugby tour to members of the Queensland Tonga Rugby program is obvious, with the tour and fixtures a historic first for a community Pacific rugby team, but what is also becoming evidently clear is that the tour is also shaping as a vital opportunity in a time when opportunities are alarmingly scarce for players at the grassroots level.
Aside from the growing feel good stories and renewed momentum for a Pacific Super Rugby team, that has partly arisen from New Zealand rugby’s recent push to promote the game in the Pacific, one thing is evidently clear when it comes to Tonga, the third pillar of the Pacific’s traditional trio of rugby powerhouses alongside Fiji and Samoa, is that the humble home of the Ikale Tahi is in real danger of being left behind and missing out on the festivities altogether.
What compels a soldier to stand and fight in the face of danger? To put the welfare of others before their own? The worthy possible answers are complex and many in number but perhaps one of those answers lies in the remarkable story of Criff Tupou.
The best players from the recently completed Monimonu Cup tournament hosted by Queensland Tonga Rugby Union has finally been unveiled and the team acts as a who’s who list of the brightest rugby talents currently coming through the ranks and plying their trades from the Melbourne, New South Wales and Queensland Tongan communities.