The national sport in Tonga is Rugby Union. Tonga's nation team ('Ikale Tahi or Sea Eagles) has done exceptionally well internationally for a small country. Tonga has competed at four Rugby World Cups with the 2007 Rugby World Cup being their most successful. Tonga won against the USA 25–15 and Samoa and almost beat South African who went on to win the cup that year. Their stellar year gave then automatic qualification for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand four years later. Tonga has beaten other international teams such as Italy in 1995
Like the New Zealand All Blacks, Tonga performs a war-like dance before games called the "Sipi Tau". Famous players of rugby of Tongan decent include: Jonah Lomu, Viliami (William) 'Ofahengaue, and George Smith.
Rugby League is also played in Tonga and Tonga has contributed great players to this code such as Anthony Tupou, Antonio Kaufusi, Brent Kite,Israel Folau, Willy Mason, and Willie Tonga.
Paea Wolfgram a Tongan boxer won the silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. He is the only Pacific islander to win an Olympic medal.
Author & photographer: David Johnson (Virtual Tonga). Providing a credit or link is appreciated.
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