31 Jul 2008

Rugby match to mark Tonga coronation

1:39 pm on 31 July 2008

Rugby fever has hit Tonga with international players from the southern and northern hemisphere preparing to play an exhibition match against a Tongan 15 as part of the King's week-long Coronation celebrations.

The players have come from as far as Wales and England with many from New Zealand and Australia to be part of the International invitation 15 coached by former All Blacks great Michael Jones, and former Tongan Wallaby great Willie Ofahengaue.

Organiser and Tongan rugby union international Epeli Taione says rugby fans are excited.

"It's the heartbeat of the people their sports especially rugby, and to have these players from around the world and some of our favourite sons that play for New Zealand and Australia back here in Tonga you know it's quite massive so it's one of the highlights of this coronation, everyone is so excited about it."

The weather is fine for the game which kicks off at 3pm today local time.