14 Jan 2011

Tonga Rugby ready to face Rebels in Melbourne

1:21 pm on 14 January 2011

The Tongan rugby team is in Australia preparing for a two-match series against new Super 15 franchise, the Melbourne Rebels, with the first match on Saturday at Olympic Park.

The Ikale Tahi squad is made up of 12 local players and 12 from Australia and New Zealand and technical advisor John McKee says the games are valuable preparation ahead of the World Cup in September and October and for those players involved in the Pacific Rugby Cup, which starts next month.

John McKee says it's also a privilege to be involved in the Rebels first ever official fixture.

"That's pretty exciting and pretty historic for us and the Tongan Rugby Union so that's a big motivation for us. Yes, they've got a lot of experienced players and they've been training together for a while but they haven't got the combinations and the match situation."