A historical day for rugby in Tonga and Fiji
Today has been a historical day for rugby in Tonga and Fiji, for the first time ever they have played Tests in the under 12 & 14 age groups.
Rugby is an amazing game, it is part of our culture and today it was plain to see it is also in our DNA. The new breed of talent from Tonga and Fiji was unleashed in Nausouri- Fiji today. Both these countries have played numerous times before in many age levels, but in the under 12s and under 14s, this was a first.
This report is on the under 12s match. As they ran out on the pitch it was interesting scenes, some guys look older and have a decent size, some the socks came up well above the knees and their jersey could hit the ground if it wasn’t tucked in so well. However size, or lack of it was no barrier as they all chucked everything they had into this match.
600 odd people were witnesses to this event and they yelled like they were 6,000 as an entertaining spectacle unfolded. There is no pushing in the scrums, but men burst off at number 8 and were met with stern resistance every time. Rolling mauls were employed a lot and the little fellas were always keen to mix it up with each other.
Fiji’s hooker busted up the middle and was rewarded with the first try, from then on Fiji looked dangerous out wide, this is where the DNA gene rolls out another generation of Flying Fijian wingers. Massive side steps, ducking under tackles and head fakes were all on display as they ran and ran some more.
Tonga played with courage, they were on the back foot a lot, however nobody was scared to face the 3 Fijian defenders running at them, even at this young age there is a heap of pride in the Tongan jersey.
General skills were exceptional, many senior teams would be embarrassed by the talent pool on display, and this great initiative will only serve these nations well in the future.
In the end Fiji touched down 3 times and ran out winners 17-7, Tonga dug deep and got a fine try to their number 12 after a huge passage of play. Fiji looked the more composed and ready, however Tonga have traveled internationally for the first time, and the players will be ready to go in test two in a weeks time.