3 Oct 2007

Tonga World Cup side arrives home to huge welcome

11:19 am on 3 October 2007

Celebrations are planned throughout today in Tonga for the members of the Ikale Tahi, the Tonga rugby side, which flew in last night after being knocked out of the World Cup in France.

Our reporter in Nuku'Alofa, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the biggest crowd ever seen at Tuamotu Airport welcomed the team.

He says they then formed a parade, with decorated floats, carrying the team on the 20 kilometre trip back into the capital.

Mateni Tapueluelu says many of the team were overwhelmed.

"They were actually crying as they got out of the airport, seeing the people welcoming them with the floats packed inside the airport. They didn't expect that number - the huge number of people that received them back, but they said they are rejoicing because the people are willing to come out during the night."