Nottingham Rugby are delighted to announced that 2015 Rugby World Cup team and giants of South Pacific rugby; Tonga, will visit Lady Bay on Friday 28th August (7.30pm kick-off), for what promises to be an exciting and memorable World Cup warm-up encounter.
The ‘Ikale Tahi’ or ‘Sea Eagles’ when translated, are all set to bring their star-studded squad down to the Bay to face the Green & Whites, as they look to test their wits against strong opposition, in preparation for the biggest international competition the sport has to offer.
History will also be made on the night, as Nottingham have never previously faced an international side in their entire 138 year existence, which is sure to add extra spice and prominence the Pacific islanders’ trip to The Bay.
Tonga’s World Cup squad is certainly guaranteed to be littered with stars from some of the top clubs across Europe and the Southern Hemisphere, with the likes of Newcastle Falcons flanker Nili Latu, Exeter Chiefs hooker Elvis Taione, Western Force lock Steve Mafi, as well as their second all-time try scorer Fetu’u Vainikolo, amongst the big names likely to be called-up for duty.
There’s also little doubt that Tonga head coach Mana Otai will field a full-strength squad to face Martin Haag’s men, with their World Cup kicking-off against Georgia, just 22 days later.
Speaking to nottinghamrugby.co.uk this week, Nottingham head coach Martin Haag was clearly delighted to welcome world-class opposition to Lady Bay, saying:
“It’s an honour for us to be able welcome the Tongan national side to The Bay, as part of their World Cup preparations.”
“With the World Cup coming up, Tonga will be a big draw and it would be great to see a big crowd down here supporting the players in their preparations for the season ahead.”
After meeting Georgia on the 19th September, at Kingsholm, Gloucester, the ‘Ikale Tahi’ then face further World Cup pool games against Namibia, Argentina and the might of current world-champions New Zealand.
Ticket information will be released in due course. Keep checking back at nottinghamrugby.co.uk and the club’s social media outlets for further updates.
The game will also be Nottingham’s final pre-season clash before their 2015/16 Greene King IPA Championship season begins on Sunday 6th September, as they make the long trip to Penzance to face the Cornish Pirates (3pm kick-off). The action at Lady Bay then gets underway the following Sunday, as Nottingham play host to local-rivals Doncaster Knights on 13th September (3pm kick-off), in what is being dubbed the ‘Big Kick Off’ down at the Bay.