Traffic in Taufa’āhau Road briefly came to a halt yesterday after a die-hard Mate Ma’a Tonga fan danced in the path of a police van.
The police used the vehicle’s loud-speaker to warn the woman to get off the road, but she kept dancing towards their van, causing a short delay on Tonga’s busiest road.
The incident was captured on video and shared online.
In the video the driver can be seen moving the van sideways to avoid the cheerleader, but the Mate Ma’a Tonga die hard supporter kept bumping into the vehicle before she laughed and ran off the road.
Cheering and joking spectators warned her to get off the road or she could be run over by the vehicle.
The incident took place as exultant fans greeted eight team players at the Fua’amotu International airport.
The players, Andrew Fifita, Tuimoala Lolohea, ‘Ūkuma Tā’ai, David Fusitu’a, Ata Hingano, Sione Kātoa, Daniel Tupou and Manu Vatuvei were met at the airport by Konrad Hurrell, who was already in Tonga.
They were joined by hundreds of well wishers who had come to welcome the players.
The Tongan team has been the focus of attention ahead of this year’s Rugby League World Cup after Jason Taumālolo defected from the North Queensland Cowboys to represent Tonga.
Several other major players have now joined him.
Andrew Fifita turned his back on Australia’s Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks to join the Tongan team.
Fifita has represented Australia seven times while Taumālolo represented New Zealand 10 times.
Reactions to the defections have been mixed. Tongan fans have applauded the news, while rugby authorities overseas have been furious.
New Zealand captain Adam Blair launched a withering attack on Taumalolo saying his action “was a betrayal of the national jersey.”
Australian rugby league captain Cameron Smith said he was shocked at what was described as “Fifita’s last-minute change of allegiance.”
However, he said he would welcome the Tongan forward back to the Australian team if he was selected next season.
“I was a little bit shocked to be honest, both with Jason’s decision and Andrew’s, but at the end of the day it’s up to the individual and if they’re happy to represent the countries that they decide to play for then I’m happy for them,” he told the ABC.
The Tongan team will battle against Scotland in Cairns on October 29 and Samoa in Hamilton on November 4, before they have to face New Zealand in Hamilton on November 11.
The main points
- Traffic in Taufa’ahau Road briefly came to a halt yesterday after a die-hard Mate Ma’a fan danced in the path of a police van.
- The police used the vehicle’s loud-speaker to warn the woman to get off the road, but she kept dancing towards their van, causing a short delay on Tonga’s busiest road.
- The incident took place as exultant fans greeted eight team players at the Fua’amotu International airport.
- Mate Ma’a will play Scotland in Cairns at the end of this month.
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