Tonga answer electrifying Haka with stunning Sipi Tau war cry before Pacific Test
Tonga responds that excites Haka with stunning Sipi Tau rallying cry before New Zealand are big winners in Pacific Test as fans turn Auckland stadium into a sea of red
- New Zealand defeated Tonga 26-6 in first test since 2019
- Over 27,000 fans gathered at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium
- Kiwis and Tonga performed highly emotional renditions of the Haka and Sipi Tau
- Joey Manu ran an astonishing 398 meters as the Kiwis dominated Tonga
Emotions ran high as rugby league returned to New Zealand for the first time in three years, with Mt Smart Stadium painted red as Tonga fans descended on Auckland for Saturday’s Pacific Test.
The Kiwis took a comfortable 26-6 win, inspired by a stunning display from Roosters star Joey Manu, who racked up 398 running yards and seven tackle breaks.
A capacity of 27,000 spectators – the vast majority of whom are part of New Zealand’s vast Tongan community – crowded into Mt Smart Stadium to watch one of the most anticipated league matches of the year and the pre-match rituals did not disappoint.
New Zealand performed a highly emotional rendition of the Haka in the Pacific Test
Which was met by an equally stunning version of the Tongan Sipi Tau war cry
Brandon Smith could barely hold back tears as the New Zealand national anthem ended, before the Kiwis performed a highly emotional rendition of the haka, which was greeted by an equally rousing performance from Tongan Sipi Tau
“There is nothing quite like it in world sport,” said Fox League commentator Warren Smith.
“Two proud Pacific Nations, setting the stage for a colossal showdown here today. […] The flags flutter. The sound of the Tongan fans reacting to what they saw during the Sipi Tau, electricity flows through your body, isn’t it?’
The Kiwis then raced to a 12-0 lead after just seven minutes as Jahrome Hughes made his way from close to the line, before Jordan Rapana completed a long-range move to duck under the posts.
Tongan fans flocked to Auckland to paint Mt Smart Stadium red
To their credit, the Tongans took advantage of the only real chance at half-time, with Sione Katoa coming into the corner after some superb build-up by Viliami Penisini.
But that just inspired the Kiwis to slam the door, with an aggressive defense by the midfielders barely able to take the Tongans off their half.
At halftime, the Kiwis took an impressive 20-6 lead after Rapana kicked a penalty before Dylan Brown drove a beautiful ball out wide for Ronaldo Mulitalo to score the try of the match.
But New Zealand had a comfortable 26-6 winners on Saturday night
Joey Manu played for the Kiwis and ran a whopping 398 meters
Jordan Rapana crossed the line for the second time in New Zealand after just seven minutes
Both debutants played solid games, but the real stars were Jesse Bromwich and Joseph Manu, who dictated the game both offensively and defensively.
By the time Isiah Papali’I reached out to score in the 62nd minute, the game had already been won, but the Kiwis kept pushing their advantage until the very end.
Despite the unusually flat Tongan performance, the crowd was in full-throttle the entire time, with Mt Smart once again becoming a sea of red Tongan flags.
Sione Katoa scored Tonga’s only try of the evening in the first half after a nice build-up
That was really the only highlight from their perspective, with stars like Jason Taumalolo and Addin Fonua-Blake well under control.
Kotoni Staggs and Talatau Amone struggled to get anything going at half-time, while Tonga was unable to force a single goal-line strike.
The Kiwis entered the game’s world rankings, a status they sustained with what can best be described as a professional win.