Tonga was the first country to break the dominance of the big 3 in international Rugby League, thanks mostly to the likes of Jason Taumalolo who switch allegiances from the countries that they grew up to either the country of their birth or the country of their heritage.
That was something that didn’t really happen until 2017, when players would opt for the big 3 over any other country due to the payments and prospects on offer but now Tonga and the other 2nd tier nations can attract stars, to the benefit of the sport as a whole.
That has led to lots of interest in Tonga from around the world and the great news is that here at 13v13, we bring you all the latest headlines regarding the Mate Ma’a in one place, to make it as easy as possible to keep up to date with the national Tonga Rugby League side.
Tonga Breaking News
If you are looking for all of the up to the minute, breaking news regarding the Tongan national Rugby League team, you are in the right place.
We bring you all of the latest breaking news from sources around the world, all you need to do is click on any of the headlines that are of interest to you to be taken to the full story.
Tonga Latest News Today
If you are looking of the latest Tonga RL news from today we will bring it to you as we update all of the latest headlines from sources around the globe 24 hours a day to make sure that when a new story breaks regarding Mate Ma’a Tonga, you will be able to read it.
Tonga play the majority of their ‘home’ matches at Mount Smart Stadium in the New Zealand capital city of Auckland, where there is a huge Tongan community and where there fans pack out the stands and have become iconic for their hymn singing during matches.
Tonga are part of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (the APRLC) that covers all of the Rugby League playing nations in the Asia and South Pacific region.
The sport has gone from strength to strength in the country since it was first introduced in 1986 and thanks to the growing number of players choosing to represent the country instead of choosing Origin or the other big 3 nations, Tonga have now in many people’s eyes become part of a big 4 of international Rugby League.
The sport grabbed the attention of the Tongan public during the 1986 Pacific Cup, which Tonga part hosted and on the back of the success of that tournament, a number of clubs started to switch to the 13-man code and the country started to play more regular test matches.
By the 1992 edition of that tournament, the Tongans had shown incredible growth an won 3 matches against the Cook Islands, Fiji and the New Zealand Māori and although they lost the final of that competition, it showed the potential of Tonga.
That potential turned into success in the next Pacific Cup as they would go one further and defeat a talented Fiji side in the final to win their first ever silverware.
The countries growth continued in 1995 when they played in their first ever Rugby League World Cup and although they failed to win a match at that tournament, their potential was once again shown in a narrow defeat to the Kiwis and in a draw against Papua New Guinea.
Tonga continued to enjoy success in the Pacific Cup and once again qualified for the World Cup in 2000 but the build up to that event them suffer there biggest ever loss in a friendly against New Zealand when the Kiwis ran out 74-0 winners.
At the tournament itself, they picked up their first ever win on the global stage against South Africa but then lost against France and Papua New Guinea to once again not make it out of the group stage.
In the 2004 Pacific Cup, the Tongans once again made it through to the final, but they would come up short against Samoa, but it wouldn’t take long for them to get over that as they would make it through to the 2006 final and in that match, they would pick up the trophy once again with a 22-4 win over Fiji.
They would qualify for the 2008 RLWC but they would fail to qualify for the knockout stages once again after a tough group stage where Ireland, Tonga and Samoa all finished level on points but with Ireland qualifying due to a better points difference.
At the 2013 tournament, they would once again just miss out on the quarter finals after a narrow 26-24 loss to Scotland but for the 2017 edition, the Tonga side would go on to change the international game.
It was at that tournament when a number of Tongan stars who were playing for Australia and New Zealand at international level decided to represent the country and that would see them go on to be the standout nation of that tournament.
Despite heading into the tournament as the 11th ranked nation in the world, they would not only defeat Scotland and Samoa comfortably in the group stage, but they would go onto produce the biggest ever shock at a RLWC by defeating the joint host New Zealand by 28 points to 22 in New Zealand.
They would go onto make it through to the semi-finals, where they would narrowly lose 18-16 to England in what would become one of the most iconic international matches of all time as the Tongan fans packed out Mount Smart Stadium in a match that nearly 40,000 sang hymns in support of their country.
That success, and the country’s ability to sell out such a large stadium, saw new possibilities for Tonga including there first ever match against Australia in 2018, although it would be the Kangaroos who came out on top by 34 points to 16.
In 2019, they would play against New Zealand, and once again come up short before facing off against a Great Britain Lions touring side where they pulled off another huge shock by winning 16-6 in Hamilton.
The next week, they would head to Eden Park in Auckland and pick up their biggest win in history when they defeated the giants of the Australian Kangaroos in an Oceania Cup match where they would stun the world by winning 16-12.
Tonga News Headlines
Here are 13v13, we bring you all of the latest Tonga news headlines, so no matter if you are an ardent fan of the country, have a passing interest or your country are playing them soon, you can read all of the latest news about the countries international test side.
Tongan Rugby League News Update
As is so often the case in modern news, when a story is reported it will need to be updated often and when that happens, we will bring you all of the updates so that you can keep up to date with all things Tongan RL.