17 Oct 2003

Tongan church against Sunday World Cup rugby match

11:33 am on 17 October 2003

The General Secretary of the Free Wesleyan Church in Tonga says its national rugby team should not be playing its world cup game against Wales in Australia this Sunday.

The Reverend Benjamin Fonua says Tonga is a religious country which observes Sunday as a holy day.

The Rev Fonua says the National team has never played on a Sunday in Tonga before.

"We really feel sorry for our players who have been asked to play on Sundays during the rugby World Cup. We do believe that Sunday is for worship, and we do not like people to play games on Sunday, instead of going to church."

The Rev Fonua says the church wrote to the Tonga Rugby Union to express their concerns but nothing was done and they did not receive a response.

He says the recent South Pacific Games had changed their schedule after the church complained about events being held on Sunday.