5 Jun 2014

Sport: Stadium upgrade in Tonga will also bring rugby tests home

10:27 am on 5 June 2014

It's expected that major upgrades to Tonga's national stadium in the build up to the 2019 Pacific Games will also allow the Tongan rugby team to play tests at home for the first time in a decade.

Yesterday the New Zealand government announced it will contribute around $1.7 US million dollars towards upgrading Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku'alofa.

Tonga's minister of sport Lord Vaea says the stadium will be the centrepiece for the 2019 Pacific Games.

He says the stadium is primarily a rugby venue but hasn't been host to any international tests in about 10 years because it doesn't meet International Rugby Board standards.

Lord Vaea says the upgrade will change that.

"This will allow our national team to come back and the improvement here will allow a lot of the top players to play back here in Tonga. Secondly to this, the development will allow a lot of our top athletes to start training immediately for the Pacific Games on upgraded tracks."

Lord Vaea says the stadium will cater to a lot of sports but believes they need to have a secondary stadium as well.