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Tongans fill team rosters in America’s PRO Rugby tournament

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

By Finau Fonua

Clockwise from left, Sam Taungakava, Sione Sina, Soane Leger, Isaac Helu, and Jacob Finau. Photos Pro Rugby.

Rugby players of Tongan heritage are filling up the team rosters in America’s inaugural PRO Rugby tournament, which kicked off on Saturday, April 23. There are at least 20 players of Tongan heritage playing in the tournament, most of whom are US-born.

Ikale Tahi flyhalf, Kurt Morath is among many International reps also playing in the tournament. Notable international imports include former All Blacks Jamie Mackintosh, Mils Muliaina and former NRL Star Timana Tahu.

The PRO Rugby tournament is the first professional rugby competition in North America. It features five teams from San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Denver and Ohio.

Ikale Tahi Fly-Half, Kurt Morath started for the San Diego April 23 in a tournament opening match against Sacramento. He helped San Diego in beating Sacramento 37 - 25. Kurt successfully converted five penalties in the match.

Players of Tongan heritage include:

  • Soane Leger (Denver),
  • Tokemoana Kefu (Sacramento)
  • Olive Kilifi (Sacramento),
  • Sione Sina (Sacramento),
  • Fatai Vailala (Sacramento),
  • Kali Tavake (Sacramento),
  • Epi Kalamani (San Diego)
  • Kurt Morath (San Diego),
  • Sam Taungakava (San Diego),
  • Sione Tuihalamaka (San Diego),
  • Jacob Finau (San Francisco),
  • Sam Finau (San Francisco),
  • Junior Helu (San Francisco),
  • Isaac Helu (San Francisco),
  • Patrick Latu (San Francisco),
  • Niko Lolohea (San Francisco),
  • Charles Mateo (San Francisco),
  • Siaosi Mahoni (San Francisco), 
  • Maka Tameilau (San Francisco), 
  • David Tameilau (San Francisco).