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Mate-ma'a-Tonga loses its cool



This afternoon, Sunday 12/1½006, I took my family to a rugby match between Tonga and England. This was a big game ...ˆ the Federation Shield final. The game was played at Halton Stadium, Cheshire which is my local rugby stadium. I was so excited and proud ...ˆ the Tonga Rugby team is here in my own backyard playing one of the best rugby league teams in the world.

The first half went off quite well. Tonga did not do too badly. The scoreboard read England 18, Tonga 10. One player from each side had been sent to the sin bin for starting a fight. The second half started off very well. Tonga scored a try, making the score 18 - 14. Tonga began to attack and run the ball at every opportunity. But then, one Tongan player lost his head, started a fight, other players joined in and it took a while for that fight to be controlled. Whilst Tongan discipline began to desert them, the English team saw the weakness and began to pass the ball wide. Once that started, they scored more tries. The Tongan players by now had completely lost control of any sense of civility ...ˆ a massive brawl started and went on for about 5 or 6 minutes. I can only say that it was a total disgrace to watch. The Tongan players behaved like undisciplined and uneducated thugs.

The crowd were mostly English supporters. Only a few Tongans who had travelled by bus from London together with a handful of Tongans who live in the North of England made it to the game. We tried our best to cheer and shout for Tonga but in the end, we were so disgusted with their behaviour that we folded up our Tongan Flags and put them away. The English crowd started booing the Tongan players and most of them were quite angry that they had paid good money to watch a rugby game but ended up watching an undisciplined Tongan team disrupting the play with their fists.

It saddened me to watch a game being thrown away because the Tongan players could not hold their hot headed temper. When the referee and linesmen tried to sort it out, another hot tempered Tongan punched someone else and the brawl went on and on and on. They could have beaten England if they had managed to keep calm. But no, they were too big headed for that. They had to display to the crowd that they could kick and punch as well.

If ever a Tongan Rugby Team managed to get to another final in the future and come over to play in my backyard, they had better remember that they were chosen to represent their nation, Tonga. Every time they behave like maniacs on the playing field, it is not them that is being tarnished, no, it is Tonga as a nation that has to carry the bad reputation label.

This is a plea to the Tongan Rugby Association, managers and coaches - make Discipline a part of your training package. Without discipline, Tongan teams will always lose disgracefully - no honour or dignity.

'Ofa atu

Senolita Swan

senolita_swan_3 [at] msn [dot] com