PNC- Tongan's hit the beach and find extra spark
With time slipping away and looking down the barrel of 5 loses in a row the Tongan team has gone to the beach for the afternoon. Coach Quddus Fielea stresses that “With limited time as a unit, we do not have the luxury of all the training that is required, I need to trust that the boys are fit and my job is to get our bonding right.” This bonding consisited of a mixture of league, rugby union and outright smashing each other on wild beach 25 mins out of Nukulofa. Players hit the sand running and the Tongan Side Step was employed a lot as they ran straight into each other to bond.
As play went on the skills were amazing, diving cover defence saw players hurtled into the ocean and scenes of group laughter applauded the skill executed. Even the coach chose to chime in with some cameo runs on the wing; he was greeted with the same response and was spared no mercy by the mass of defenders heading his way.
Shirts started to come off and it is easy to see that these guys are warriors alright, woman of the world would go crazy at the chance to see this and rugby followers would pay big bucks to witness the brutal talent that unfolded on the sand. It seems that the tough side of the game is like having a coffee for these guys, they are built right and a potentially sore thing is taken in their stride and they love it.
In the past 10 days Tonga have grown immensely, from an utter pasting by Australia A, to a close thing against Samoa in the weekend. This growth got even bigger in the sandy cove today, the team gels very well and there is no shortage of team spirit and it looks like a perfect move with today’s practice, they are as 1.
For the record the game saw only a couple of tries and after the hit-out the coach and management were given a free swim from the players.
All of these boys are professionals, most are living away from home and today was a reminder of where they come from. Tonga is their homeland and the grins and fun re fuel of today energises them for the coming test match and months ahead in overseas contracts. This taste of home scenes, home food, home people and interactions that only home can give you are so valuable for them. Speaking their native tongue, having little kids of Tonga walk up and idolise them also plants the seed of tomorrow. Tonga may be down a bit on form in the PNC, but there is no shortage of passion in the Kingdom.