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Tonga celebrates rugby league winners

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

A throne for Jason Taumalolo. Tonga Invitational XIII Rugby League parade, Nuku'alofa, 15 November 2019.

Thousands of rugby league fans flocked to Nuku’alofa on November 15 to greet members of the winning Tonga Invitational XIII Rugby League Team, who joined a colourful float parade, on a specially declared national public holiday today, 15 November.

More than 10 of the players had returned to Tonga after their outstanding wins against the Great Britain Lions and Australian Kangaroos, in the Oceania Cup 2019 tournament.

Today's program started with a prayer ceremony held at the Taufa’ahau Tupou IV Domestic Wharf, before the float parade carrying the Kau To'a started in the afternoon.

Each player had his own marked vehicle, flanked by enthusiastic and rowdy supporters, with crowds from the elderly to children were out in full force on the Vuna Road seafront, dressed patriotically in red and white.

Tongan flags flew high with people filling both sides of the main roads, leading from the Nuku’alofa waterfront to the Central Business District.

Rugby League players who returned to Tonga for the occasion included Jason Taumalolo, Siosiua Taukei'aho, Andrew Fifita, William Hopoate, Tevita Pangai, Siliva Havili, Fanitesi Niu, Daniel Tupou, Joseph 'Ofahengaue, Mafoa Hingano, Kotoni Staggs, John 'Asiata, Sitili Tupouniua, Tevita Tatola, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Sione Katoa, Addin Fonua-Blake, with former captain Sika Manu.