by Finau Fonua
Nine Tongan-born players have so far been listed in the New Zealand and Australian team rosters for the 2015 Super 15 Rugby Championship.
All New Zealand teams, apart from the Canterbury Crusaders, have employed at least one Tongan-born rugby player. These include All Blacks Malakai Fekitoa (22) and Frank Halai (26).
Three of the five Australian teams have employed Tongan-born players, including the 18 year-old prodigy “Tongan Thor” Daniel Tupou, recruited by the Queensland Reds. Tupou is eligible to play for the ‘Ikale Tahi at this year’s Rugby World Cup in London, England.
Notable ‘Ikale Tahi hopefuls participating in this year’s Super 15 Championship are Ben Tameifuna, Geroge Moala and Steve Mafi.
Tongan-born rugby players in Super 15 Championship 2015:
Willis Halaholo (24), Wellington Hurricanes
‘Ofa Tu’ungafasi (22) and Frank Halai (26), Auckland Blues
Ma’afu Fia (25) and Malakai Fekitoa (22, Faleloa Hp), Otago Highlanders
Siate Tokolahi (22), Waikato Chiefs
Lopeti Timani (24, Navutoka Tt), Melbourne Rebels
Taniela Tupou (18, Vaini Tt), Queensland Reds
Tolu Latu (21), NSW Waratahs