We had a training session and were divided into teams for the second game that saw brothers from across the ocean line up alongside each other, an annual tradition on this tour. Angus (Newington) Was the captain of the Toloa Team and Chris (Tupou) was the captain of the Newington Team. The teams were even and the boys were getting excited and prepared the game started and we were having fun, the game at the end was 17-15 and the Newington team had won, it was a great day and a great time to meet and get to know the other boys in your team. It was a great experience.
Tu’a got man of the match for Toloa and the 5/8 for Newngton got man of the match for them. All the boys played well and had so much fun. It was extremely sad to finish the rugby component of the tour with our brothers in blue but all good things must come to an end.
After a morning spent in classes with the Toloa boys, the main event of our fifth day in Tupou was the challenge of the big game.
The day before the game everybody was pumped up and ready, that’s until we played touch football that afternoon. We started and then realised what we were up against, they were fast , huge and strong and beat us in touch and then we knew what we were in for, we headed to the dormitory and went in and showered up for dinner that night and “tried” to get some sleep.
We woke up and the atmosphere was different everybody was quiet and we started preparing for the game. We went to breakfast to get a good feed from the wives of the tutors and as always the breakfast was amazing and fuelled us for the big day ahead. The team voted on a captain and that was awarded to Angus Bell. When we lined up all of the Toloa kids sat down and supported the team that they were allocated to, we both sang anthems that were performed by the beautiful band. It was a great day to have a game.
The Kick Off.
We kicked the ball off to Toloa and they knocked it on, we were down in their half and putting more and more pressure on them until there captain Chris Hala’ufia (Captain of the U/15 National Team) stole the ball and ran 80m to score the first points in the game. The game was tight & at half time it was 17-0 and we were yet to give up and were still confident that we could come back and beat the boys in blue. As they kicked off to us we kicked it back into their left corner for a lineout. We had won the lineout it and we got a penalty for offside against the Toloa boys then we took the quick tap and The Raging Bull, Will Serhon, barged over to give the Newington boys their first points and try. At the end of the game the Boys in blue had ran away with the game with some quick tries and the end score was 48-7.
Much fun was had by all – including many former Newington/Tupou boys & their parents.
The weekend was another extraordinary time for the boys. On Friday we received news that we were invited to a Saturday wedding on site at Toloa.
Nicholas Fitzsimmons made the following observations:
The wedding started with the wedding party entering Tupou College tooting their horns. We were expecting a long ceremony but instead to our surprise it was quickly over in about 30-45 mins. The music sung and played by the Tupou College boys were amazing.
After the ceremony it was a quick walk to the dining hall for a massive feast. We sat on 2 long tables which were mounted with food. Most of the boys had no clue what to do with the mass amounts of food. Within an hour an old lady in a wig was pulling boys out of their seats and making them dance with her, putting the boys in an awkward position. To some of the boys surprise, they were tipped by the crowd with notes ranging from $2-20 for their great dancing.
Sunday in Tonga is a day of rest. The boys began with a formal march to church, followed by the Sunday ‘feast’ – more pork, yams and amazing treats. After a short afternoon rest we were back to church for the evening service of songs and speeches, including excellent words from Tour and Rugby Captains Mitchell Loveridge and Angus Bell.
On Friday, we awoke early to another big breakfast prepared by the Tongan women. After our feast we hoped on the bus with our money and headed for the Western Union, we exchanged all of our money for Tongan money. Later we headed to Steve Finau’s place were he talked about his time at Newington including his trip to Australia as a six year-old that included a month long boat ride on a cargo ship. Soon after we jumped on the bus and headed to the coast where we visited the blowholes, the surf was huge and the sea was blue making a beautiful sight to see.
Later, we stopped for lunch in the city, the taste of a good burger was definitely refreshing. After a burger we walked to the markets where many boys purchased wooden canes, statues and assorted accessories among other things. After a long day we headed to the Vakaloa Beach and Resort were we enjoyed a traditional Tongan meal and some beautiful dancing by the local Tongans and some astounding dance moves by Josh Bowd and others. The visit to Vakaloa and the entire day will certainly be one of the highlights for everyone of the boys on the trip.
The team has landed and after a lean two hour sleep the boys have had an extraordinary first day. They’ll be online soon to share some tales from their day. In the meantime, some images from our first 18 hours in Tonga.
At 3:45pm we embarked on our journey to Tonga, farewelling our parents. We filled up on array of pies, lollies and maccas and settled ourselves into an exciting four and a half hour flight. Arriving at 2:30am we were greeted by 20 people and music with big smiles and flower necklaces. After shaking most of the boys’ hands we were hustled up for a group photo. We got onto a bus and continued our journey to the college. The bus stopped and we all piled out and waited for our bags, which had been loaded onto the truck by Topou boys. After deciding our bed we headed for the dining hall. The smell of fried chicken and other aromas filled our nostrils and we were directed by someone (person who said grace first night). This warm greeting felt so strange for me the heads of school and many Topou boys were willing to stay up until 4am for us to go to sleep with a meal in our belly’s.
The next day we were woken at 6am to a surprisingly tight and impressive marching parade into assembly. Our attempts would have appeared feeble compared to the incredibly sharp marching of the Tongan boys. During assembly we heard English as well as Tongan hymns. The reverberating sound of the Tongan’s singing fluctuated throughout our bodies, giving an exquisite vibration all the way around the beautifully designed chapel.
After chapel we were paired with Tongan companions and on top of being extremely kind and welcoming, they taught us lots about Tongan culture and their daily lives. Moving throughout their school we developed some understanding of the size of Tupou and the work needed to keep it running smoothly. We later walked out into the fields and again were shocked by the utter magnitude of the school, here we learnt how to pull the weeds. This was great as we could finally give a little help back to the school after all they had done for us already. The day concluded with a large feast for dinner, with many different meats and dishes and this allowed us to have a sound sleep.