Tonga National Rugby team are to return to United States and get ready to take on US Eagles Rugby team on Friday, June 14 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Salt Lake City, after being defeated by Canada 36-27.
The spirit of supports by the Tongan fans in US around the social media and abroad is still high and strong despite the loss as many call on the team to leave the game with Canada behind and get prepared for the next game.
The courage of the ‘Ikale Tahi 14 team members and only 12 in the second half who temporarily struggled in the field to face 15 Canadians after Eddie Aholelei was red-carded and two others later on sent to the sin-bin was enough to make supporters still proud of the team.
Nili Latu, the captain appreciated the supporters and the community spirit they have for the 'Ikale Tahi but "apologised for the result" and said they "did their best".
“Oku atu ae kole faka mole mole meia teau moe Timi he mau to nounou he vainga oe ahoni ,koe mau Osi Taha e pea nae ikai toe Tuku ha mau ivi,” he said.
Tonga coach Mana ‘Otai believes ‘Ikale Tahi as well as other Pacific Teams are singled out because of their “physical play”
Otai made his comments after reviewing the video tape and said “I had a look at both. I couldn’t really see why (the yellow cards were issued),”
“It’s almost like, these days you know, when a black man is tackling harder than the other, it seems to be the way.”
“And I think some of the foreigners that are involved in our team now are starting to see that. It’s just hard to battle or fight that stereotype, I guess. But I’m not taking away the fact that at times we do, I guess, make mistakes in terms of tackling – if I’m talking in general. But in today’s game, I couldn’t justify the two yellow cards,” he told Canadians newspapers.