Tonga Ma‘a Tonga recommended to join IRL, but Covid-19 makes future games uncertain

With the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation’s recommendation that Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League be considered for full membership of the International Rugby League, administration of the game looks to be on a steadier footing, but  its future on the field is still uncertain.

There is still talk of another match against New Zealand later this year, but coach Kristian Woolf said continuing problems with Covid-19 in Australia  could make that difficult.

“There’s been a little bit more drama with the coronavirus in Australia so I think everything is just a little bit on hold and wait and see at the moment,” Woolf told RNZ.

The late completion of the Super League, in which some Tongan players are involved,  could also complicate matters.

However, Woolf said any chance of organising a match before the end of the year was helped by the fact that most of the Tongan squad was based in Australia and New Zealand.

Tonga was scheduled to play the Fiji Bati in October as part of the Oceania Cup.

It also qualified for next year’s Rugby League World Cup, but needs to regain membership of the IRL before it can compete.

The decision by the Asia-Pacific Rugby League to recommend Tonga Ma’a Tonga for IRL membership  ruled out an application by a second group, the Tonga Rugby League, to be considered as the game’s governing body in the kingdom.

An appeal by the Tonga National Rugby League board, which was expelled from the IRL in February is still underway and may be heard as early as September.

“The Tonga national team has been on a steady increase over the last couple of years and in the last 12 to 18 months they really hit their straps,” APRL head of operations Gareth Holmes said.

“So, you’ve got a team that is now a player on the world stage, but you’ve had an administration that was probably not equipped with the level of expertise required.”

The TNRL appeal is separate from any approval of Tonga Ma’a Tonga as a member of the IRL.

The main points

  • With the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation’s recommendation that Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League be considered for full membership of the International Rugby League, administration of the game looks to be on a steadier footing, but its future on the field is still uncertain.
  • There is still talk of another match against New Zealand later this year, but coach Kristian Woolf said continuing problems with Covid-19 in Australia could make that difficult.

For more information

Tonga hopeful of Kiwis rematch before end of year

https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/422131/tonga-hopeful-of-kiwis-rematch-before-end-of-year

 

Future direction starts to emerge for rugby league in Tonga

https://www.rugbyleagueplanet.com/2020/07/27/future-direction-starts-to-emerge-for-rugby-league-in-tonga/?fbclid=IwAR3CBMaq5Ygz0MHempi1o-7QwrUd-tHtYTEpdL6JuMW_dHB6wXSbUWIy640

 

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