Pacific brotherhood, rivalry
6 November, 2017, 12:00 am
Oh, what a night! Hamilton was a sea of blue and red as fireworks cracked on the field and patriotism from Tongan and Samoan fans shook the stadium. History books showed that Tonga beat Samoa 32-18, to stop a run of defeats against their Pacific neighbour and set up a huge match against the Kiwis. The clash between the Pacific neighbours delivered a brutal, barn-storming and beautiful atmosphere and one wonders why the NRL and the International Rugby League Federation haven’t done more for Pacific league. The unique combined prayer before the match as the teams gathered in a large circle and then the incredible sight of the Siva Tau and Sipi Tau performed simultaneously was a joy to watch.
The action on the field whipped the 18,000 strong fans into frenzy. The constant buzz of noise, cheers, chants and singing added flavour to the storm on the field. I felt that Tonga deserved the win as their organisation proved the difference. The Tongan forward pack is one of the most skillful and talented ever put together by a Pacific nation, but in terms of sheer size and strength, it was Samoa that came out on top. Tonga stuck together as a group and kept turning up for each other and yes, the giants did put an 80 minute performance.
For the Tongans, it was pretty simple as they kept holding the ball, built pressure and obviously finished their sets a bit better. Tonga and Samoa showed fans that brotherhood supersedes rivalry as they received applauds for a well-orchestrated and tensed match. A big vinaka vakalevu to our Pacific brothers for setting the 2017 RLWC alive and showing that we don’t lack talents!