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King to attend semi-final match against England

Kaniva Tonga News
Saturday, November 25, 2017

NUKU'ALOFA - King Tupou VI will attend Tonga's semi final match against England at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland this Saturday.

This has been confirmed to Kaniva News by Tongan consul in Auckland, Stafford 'Aho.

His Majesty will arrive in Auckland on Friday, he said.

This is the first time Tonga have advanced past the group stages since competing in their first World Cup in 1995.

"Head Coach Kristian Woolf's side have beaten strong opposition, including New Zealand, to make the semi-final and will be looking to key players Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita, Tuimoala Lolohea and Michael Jennings to get them over the line at Mount Smart at the weekend."

Asked whether the king will meet the Mate Ma'a Tonga players during the game 'Aho said the program was tight and there was no time for that.

Prime Minister 'Akilisi Phiva was expected to also attend the historic match.

Meanwhile, Mate Ma'a Tonga President Semisi Sika has asked that the team be given peace and quiet while they prepare for Saturday's battle with England.

Tonga, which has now won four games in a row, goes up against the Englishmen in Auckland at 6pm New Zealand time.

England defeated Papua New Guinea 36-6 last Sunday, the day after the Mate Ma'a Tonga defeated Lebanon 24-22.

"We need our players to focus on training for their games and getting adequate rest needed for their best performance," Sika, who is also Tonga's Minister for Tourism, said.

"Please show your support by giving them space and time needed for their preparation.

"We look forward to a unified celebration … after the games are finished."

He asked that family and friends refrain from contacting players in the lead-up to the game.

Sika also asked people to be wary of unauthorised people soliciting for donations for Mate Ma'a Tonga.

"We also discourage holding anymore fundraisers on behalf of Mate Ma'a Tonga, until there is an official announcement from the Tonga National Rugby League Committee," he said.

Contributions from businesses in Tonga and the government had been sufficient to provide the players," weekly income.

"Our players understand our financial limitations as a country and do not expect any more money," Sika said.

"To date, all necessary expenses for the team's travel, accommodation, training and games are sufficiently funded."

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