The Oceania Rugby community has welcomed today's re-opening of Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku'alofa by Tongan Prime Minster Hon. Akilisi Pohiva and New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English.
At the re-opening the Prime Ministers exchanged national rugby jerseys and handed out rugby balls to secondary school teams as part of the Pacific Sporting Partnership with NZR. The secondary school teams also participated in a coaching session provided by the Tonga Rugby Union.
Tonga is part of the Pacific Sporting Partnership – Sports for Health, which aims to reduce the effects of non-communicable diseases in the Pacific by promoting healthy lifestyles through active living and better nutritional choices.
NZR will deliver a five year programme and has completed its first planning session with the Tongan Rugby Union. It aims to roll-out a ‘Quick Rip’ programme for 14 to 18 years olds in Tonga in early 2018, alongside delivering a healthy lifestyles awareness campaign.
Pacific Sporting Partnerships Programme Director Brent Anderson said the initiative provided a great opportunity to support children and young people in Tonga to get more involved in sport.
“Sport is recognised around the world as making a real difference to peoples’ lives and outcomes. It’s great that rugby will be used to support the work New Zealand does in Tonga and make a meaningful contribution on and off the field in the region.”
The Stadium will host two matches of the 2017 Pacific Nations Cup that along with last year’s tournament is the Oceania regions Rugby World Cup qualifier for Japan 2019.
2017 Pacific Nations Cup/RWC 2019 Qualifiers
July 1: Tonga v Samoa – Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku’alofa, Tonga
July 2: Tonga v Fiji – Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku’alofa, Tonga
July 15: Samoa v Fiji – Apia Park, Apia, Samoa.
(With thanks to NZ Rugby)