Mate Ma‘a Tonga’s World Cup campaign honoured by public holiday on Wednesday

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Mate Ma'a Tonga fans in Tofoa. Photo/Kaniva News

Tonga will honour the Mate Ma’a Tonga with a public holiday on Wednesday.

All team players will return to Tonga tomorrow (Tuesday, November 28) except for six who required medical attendance.

As Kaniva News reported this morning,  the Ma’a Tonga players will be invested with an award of the Royal Orders to recognise their contribution to sports.

The investiture ceremony will be held on Wednesday (November 29) at the Royal Palace at 4.30 pm.

The awards will reflect the tremendous effort Tonga made to take on top tier teams like England and New Zealand and to come within a whisker of gaining a place in the finals.

But the last minute try that Tongan fans believe should have brought them victory was disallowed.

Last night Tongan fans marched through central Auckland to protest and most commentators believe the referee should have checked the video recording to work out exactly what happened in the dying moments of the game when Andrew Fifita went over the line.

Today the New Zaeland Herald wrote:

“Tonga were robbed. That is the only possible conclusion from the end of tonight’s World Cup semi-final.

“Not necessarily robbed of victory, but robbed of the peace of mind of knowing what really unfolded in the desperate last 10 seconds of the match, as they launched a final, furious assault on the English line as they trailed 20-18.

“Referee Matt Cecchin had to at least check what happened as Andrew Fifita stormed towards the line, before losing the ball in a tackle, then regathering it to force it over the line.”

And Radio New Zealand’s Jamie Wall asked the question this afternoon that every Tongan fan has  been asking: “Why didn’t Cecchin go to the video ref?”

List of Mate Ma’a Tonga players & staff travelling to Tonga :

1. David Fusitu’a

2. William Hopoate

3. Joe Ofahengaue

4. Mahe Fonua

5. Siliva Havili

6. Tuimoala Lolohea

7. Ukuma Ta’ai

8. Daniel Tupou

9. Jason Taumalolo

10. Konileti Hurrell

11. Ata Hingano

12. Manu Ma’u

13. Manu Vatuvei

14. Peni Terepo

15. Sam Moa

16. Sika Manu – Captain

17. Siua Taukeiaho

18. Ben Murdoch Masila

19. Kristian Woolf – Head Coach

The main points

  • Tonga will honour the Mate Ma’a with a public holiday on Wednesday.
  • The Mate Ma’a players will be invested with an award of the Royal Orders to recognise their contribution to sports.
  • The awards will reflect the effort Tonga made to come within a whisker of gaining a place in the finals.

For more information 

Mate Ma‘a Tonga players to receive royal award from King Tupou VI

Tonga were robbed by decision not to go to video referee

Tonga’s league loss: Try or no try?

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