Sharks (rugby union)
The Sharks — known as the Cell C Sharks for sponsorship reasons — are a South African rugby union team competing in the Super Rugby competition. They are based in Durban and centred on the Sharks union based in Durban and drawing players from all of KwaZulu-Natal Province. In 1993–1995 South Africa was represented in the Super 10 by their three top unions. Natal qualified in 1993 and 1994. Natal were runners-up in 1994 after having lost to Queensland 21-10 in the final. In 1996 and 1997 South Africa was represented in the Super 12 by their four top unions rather than franchises, Natal qualified and competed both years, they have never won any of the Super Rugby competition, but have reached the final four times, as Natal in 1996 and as the Sharks in 2001, 2007 and 2012. The side contains many Springbok players, including Tendai'Beast' Mtawarira, JP Pietersen, Jean Deysel, Coenie Oosthuizen and Patrick Lambie, they have featured many international stars including France international Frédéric Michalak.
In 2010, they were slated to feature Argentine star Juan Martín Hernández, but he was ruled out for the season with a back injury. In 2017 they recruited France's Clément Poitrenaud. Natal competed in the inaugural Super 10 during the 1993 season, they were in Pool A along with Auckland, Western Samoa and Otago. They finished second in the pool on 12 points, behind Auckland on 16; the next season they played in Pool b with New South Wales, Western Samoa and Waikato, finished at the top of the pool to face Pool A winners Queensland in the final in Durban. Natal lost the game 21 to 10. Natal did not play in the 1995 series; the Sharks' Currie Cup team played in the first Super 12 season, in 1996. After 11 games the Sharks finished fourth in the final standings, enough to get them through to the finals, they defeated Queensland at Ballymore 43 to 25 to get into the first Super 12 championship game. They finished inaugural runners-up; the following season Natal lost their semi-final against Auckland. In 1998 the Coastal Sharks won 7 of their 11 games, finished in their best position yet, third place.
They were however defeated by the Crusaders in the semi finals. The following season the Sharks missed the finals. In 2000 the Sharks finished last in the final standings; however the next season they came second - at the time their best finish - and after defeating the Cats, went to Canberra for the final, which they lost against the Brumbies. In 2002 the Sharks missed the finals after finishing 10th on the season table; the following season they came 11th. 2004 was a better season for the team, coming in at 7th after the regular season. However, in 2005 saw them slump to 12th. In 2006, the Super 12 expanded and became the Super 14. In the first Super 14 season the Sharks narrowly missed the finals, missing out on a 4th-place finish on points difference. In 2007 they were top of the table and became the first South African side to host a Super 12 or 14 final; the Sharks lost to the Bulls after a controversial try by Bryan Habana. In 2011 the Super Rugby competition was expanded again to feature an additional team from Australia changing the competition to the Super Rugby tournament.
The 2012 season saw the Sharks struggle in the first few weeks, but a run of good form saw them lose only one of their last seven games to sneak into the playoffs in 6th position. They had to travel to Suncorp Stadium, Australia for the qualifier against The Reds, whom they beat 30-17 to reach the semi-finals, they had to travel another 11 000 km back to Cape Town to face the Stormers, they were not given much of a chance after having crossed the Indian for the second time in as many weeks, but again they prevailed 26-19. Having beaten the Crusaders in the other semi-final, the Chiefs claimed home ground advantage for the final. After travelling over the Indian yet again to Hamilton, the Sharks met the Chiefs for the final, but the fairytale was not to be, they were defeated 37-6 by the Chiefs, who claimed their first Super Rugby title; the Sharks did manage to win the South African Conference and trophy once in 2014 under coach Jake White. The main prize still eludes the Sharks. While the provincial Natal rugby team was nicknamed the Banana Boys for a long time, the advent of professionalism in 1995, along with the launch of Super Rugby franchises, led to a rebranding, with the team to be known as the Sharks.
A black-and-white Sharks mascot, was launched in 1995. Kings Park Stadium in Durban is the home ground of The Sharks, it is locally known as "The Shark Tank". It has a capacity of 52,000. In addition to being the home of the Sharks, it is used during the Currie Cup for the Sharks, as well as for soccer games; the ground was built in 1968, but have been worked on numerous times. A major upgrade occurred for the 1995 Rugby World Cup; when the Super Rugby franchise system was launched in South Africa in 1998, the team was called the Coastal Sharks and covered the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces, therefore drawing players from the Sharks, Border Bulldogs and Mighty Elephants Currie Cup teams. This lasted until 2005, when the Eastern Cape attempted to launch their own Super Rugby franchise, the Southern Spears; that meant that the Border Bulldogs and Mighty Elephants teams were aligned with the Spears franchise and the Sharks were affiliated with one p
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International referred to as Habitat for Humanity or Habitat, is an international, non-governmental, nonprofit organization, founded in 1976 by Linda and Millard Fuller. Habitat has been devoted to building "simple and affordable" housing, a self-described "Christian housing ministry," and has addressed the issues of poverty housing all over the world; the international operational headquarters are located in Americus, United States, with the administrative headquarters located in Atlanta. There are five area offices located around the world: Canada. Community-level Habitat offices act in partnership with and on behalf of Habitat for Humanity International. In the United States, these local offices are called Habitat affiliates; each affiliate and national office is nonprofit organization. Affiliates and national offices coordinate all aspects of Habitat home building in their local area, including fundraising, building site selection, partner family selection and support, house construction, mortgage servicing.
The mission statement of Habitat for Humanity is "Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes and hope". Homes are built using volunteer labor and Habitat makes no profit on the sales. In some locations outside the United States, Habitat for Humanity charges interest to protect against inflation; this policy has been in place since 1986. Habitat has helped more than 4 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve more than 800,000 homes since its founding in 1976, making Habitat the largest not-for-profit builder in the world. Habitat for Humanity traces its origins to the time Linda and Millard Fuller spent at Koinonia Farm in 1965; the couple had a successful business in Montgomery, Alabama before they started a new life of Christian service. According to the official website, The affiliate's family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan.
Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families. There are several checks and balances in place to protect both Habitat and the potential homeowner: Habitat for Humanity performs an extensive background check on potential homeowners, including character references, employer interviews, audit of finances; the applicants are required to sign release forms authorizing Habitat for Humanity to perform this background check. This ensures that Habitat's risk is reasonable when selling a home and that the applicant family is in a suitable financial position to take on the responsibility of a mortgage. There are a First and a Second Mortgage; the Second Mortgage is put in place to protect any equity, left, not captured in the first mortgage. The homeowners pay down the first mortgage, after a stated period of time of living in the same home, the Second Mortgage is forgiven. However, The Right of First Refusal stays in force.
Homeowners are expected to put 500 hours of "sweat equity" into their own or other project homes, although this amount may vary by location, the number of wage-earning adults in each family, the recipients' health issues. This sweat equity acts as the down payment on the home; every hour spent earning this sweat equity must be approved and signed off on by an official Habitat for Humanity representative. Sweat equity has no monetary value and cannot be'refunded'. Once construction on the home is finished and the sweat equity is completed in full, the homeowner purchases the home with a 0% to 2% interest mortgage. With monthly payments that do not exceed 30% of the household's monthly income. Mortgage payments from homeowners are deposited into a locally administered "Fund for Humanity", the proceeds of which go toward future construction. In an effort to discourage predatory lenders from targeting Habitat homeowner families, mortgage agreements require the Habitat for Humanity affiliate the right of first refusal.
Until the mortgage is paid in full, a Habitat home has no equity and can only be sold back to Habitat for Humanity. Should a homeowner family decide to sell their home during the period of their mortgage, the affiliate will buy it back at market value. Affiliates will have a shared appreciation model that will allow the affiliate to recapture a portion of the equity in the home depending on the time the family lived in the home and paid on the mortgage; the no interest mortgage payments permit a family the freedom to manage their finances more the end goal being to provide a'hand up' and not a'hand out' as it were. In some locations, attendance at money management courses is mandatory for potential homeowners. Habitat relies on volunteer labor in order to construct simple and affordable homes with its partner families, as well as to build community and civil society in the areas in which it works. Many churches and other houses of worship sponsor houses and provide a large amount of the volunteers from their congregations.
Some corporations and businesses that value good corporate citizenship provide financial support to the projects
Seddon Park is a cricket ground in Hamilton, New Zealand. It is the fourth-largest cricket ground in the country, is renowned for its "village green" setting, affording a picnic atmosphere for spectators. Seddon Park was named after the longest-serving Prime Minister of New Zealand. Hamilton Borough Council named it in July 1906, it was first used for a major cricket match in February 1914, when the touring Australians played a South Auckland XVIII in a two-day match. It has been in constant use since. Due to sponsorship from Trust Bank and subsequently Westpac, the ground was known as Trust Bank Park from 1990 to 1997, as WestpacTrust Park from 1997 to 2003, as Westpac Park from 2003 to 2006, it reverted to its original name in 2006, when Westpac decided to end its sponsorship of a number of sporting events and grounds in New Zealand. Seddon Park was used for the 2015 Cricket World Cup for two of the world cup's matches. Seddon Park is a round, well-grassed ground with a centre block of nine pitches, running north to south.
These pitches are very good for batting. There is an embankment going around three-quarters of the perimeter, with a tall hedgerow outside this embankment. In addition to cricket, Seddon Park has been used for rugby union, rugby league and hockey matches, it therefore has a flexible stadium environment. Seddon Park has been used for first-class cricket since the 1956–57 season, coinciding with the formation of the Northern Districts Cricket Association and the inclusion of the Northern Districts cricket team in the Plunket Shield competition; the ground is used for hosting Twenty20 International matches, One Day International matches as well as Test matches. It has hosted a total of 34 ODIs and 25 Test matches; the first ODI played here was between New Zealand and India on 15 February 1981, which New Zealand won by 57 runs. The first Test match was played on February 22–26, 1991, between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, a draw. Kane Williamson has the highest Test score on the ground, 200 not out versus Bangladesh in 2019, whilst Ross Taylor holds the highest Test aggregate for the ground of 908 runs.
The ground was used for one season in 2001 for the majority of Waikato and Chiefs rugby home games. Temporary stands were raised for the games. Rugby returned to the newly built Waikato Stadium for the following year. Highest totals: 715/6d by New Zealand v Bangladesh on 28 Feb 2019High scores: 200* by Kane Williamson v Bangladesh on 28 Feb 2019 List of Test cricket grounds List of international cricket centuries at Seddon Park List of international cricket five-wicket hauls at Seddon Park Cricinfo entry CricketWeb entry
Hamilton, New Zealand
Hamilton is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the seat and most populous city of the Waikato region, with a territorial population of 169,300, the country's fourth most-populous city. Encompassing a land area of about 110 km2 on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton is part of the wider Hamilton Urban Area, which encompasses the nearby towns of Ngaruawahia, Te Awamutu and Cambridge; the area now covered by the city was the site of several Māori villages, including Kirikiriroa, from which the city takes its Māori name. By the time English settlers arrived, most of these villages, which sat beside the Waikato River, were abandoned as a result of the Invasion of Waikato, Waikato Wars and the unjust land confiscation by the Crown under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863; the new English settlement was renamed Hamilton after Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton, the commander of HMS Esk, killed in the Battle of Gate Pā, Tauranga. An agricultural service centre, Hamilton now has a diverse economy and is the third fastest growing urban area in New Zealand, behind Pukekohe and Auckland.
Hamilton Gardens is the region's most popular tourist attraction. Education and research and development play an important part in Hamilton's economy, as the city is home to 40,000 tertiary students and 1,000 PhD-qualified scientists; the area now covered by the city was the site of several Māori villages, including Pukete and Kirikiriroa, from which the city takes its Māori name. Local Māori were the target of raids by Ngāpuhi during the Musket Wars, several pā sites from this period can still be found beside the Waikato River. In December 2011 several rua or food storage pits were found near the Waikato River bank, close to the Waikato museum. In 1822, Kirikiriroa Pa was abandoned to escape the Musket Wars. However, by the 1830s Ngati Wairere’s principal pa was Kirikiriroa, where the missionaries, who arrived at that time, estimated 200 people lived permanently. A chapel and house were built at Kirikiriroa for visiting clergy after Benjamin Ashwell established his mission near Taupiri. Between 1845 and 1855 crops such as wheat and potatoes were exported to Auckland, with up to 50 canoes serving Kirikiriroa.
Imports included blankets, axes, sugar and tobacco. Millstones were acquired and a water wheel constructed, though the flour mill wasn't completed. However, one article said. Magistrate Gorst, estimated that Kirikiriroa had a population of about 78 before the Invasion of Waikato via the Waikato Wars of 1863–64; the government estimated. After the war in the Waikato, large areas of land, including the area of the present city of Hamilton were unjustly confiscated by the Crown under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863.. By the time British settlers arrived after 1863, most of these villages had been abandoned as a result of the land confiscation known as Raupatu. After the invasion of the Waikato and confiscation of the invaded land, militia-settlers were recruited in Melbourne and Sydney. Hamilton was settled by the 4th regiment of the Waikato Militia; the 1st Regiment was at Tauranga, the 2nd at Pirongia, the 3rd at Cambridge and the 4th at Kirikiriroa. The settlement was founded on 24 August 1864 and named by Colonel William Moule after Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton, the commander of HMS Esk, who never stepped foot in Kirikiriroa and was killed in the battle of Gate Pā, Tauranga.
On 10 March 2013 a statue of Captain Hamilton was given to the city by the Gallagher Group. Many of the soldier/settlers who intended to farm after the 1863 war, walked off their land in 1868 disgusted at the poor quality of the land. Much of the land was swampy or under water. In 1868 Hamilton's population, about 1,000 in 1864, dropped to 300 as farmers left; the road from Auckland reached Hamilton in 1867 and the railway in December 1877. That same month, the towns of Hamilton East merged under a single borough council; the first traffic bridge between Hamilton West and Hamilton East, known as the Union Bridge, opened in 1879. It was replaced by the Victoria Bridge in 1910; the first railway bridge, the Claudelands Bridge, was opened in 1884. It was converted to a road traffic bridge in 1965. Hamilton reached 1,000 people in 1900, the town of Frankton merged with the Hamilton Borough in 1917. Between 1912 and 1936, Hamilton expanded with new land in Claudelands and Richmond – modern day Waikato Hospital and northern Melville.
Hamilton was proclaimed a city in 1945. The city is near the southernmost navigable reach of the Waikato River, amidst New Zealand's richest and now fertile agricultural land, once Raupo and Kahikatea swamp. Beale Cottage is an 1872 listed building in Hamilton East. From 1985 MV Waipa Delta provided excursions along the river through the town centre. In 2009 Waipa Delta was moved to provide trips on Waitematā Harbour in Auckland, but replaced by a smaller boat; that too ceased operation and the pontoon at Parana Park was removed in 2013. The Delta moved to Taupo in 2012; the former Golden Bay vessel, Cynthia Dew, has run 4 days a week on the river since 2012. Hamilton Central, on the Waikato River, is a bustling retail precinct; the entertainment area is quite vibrant due to the large student population. The 2008 Lonely Planet guide states that "the city's main street has sprouted a sophisticated and vibrant stretch of bars and eateries that on the weekend at least leave Auckland's Viaduct Harbour
New Zealand national rugby union team
The New Zealand national rugby union team, called the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in men's rugby union, known as the country's national sport. The team has won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015 as well as the inaugural tournament in 1987, they have a 77% winning record in test match rugby, are the only international men’s side with a winning record against every opponent. Since their international debut in 1903, they have lost to only six of the 19 nations they have played in test matches. Since the introduction of the World Rugby Rankings in 2003, New Zealand has held the number one ranking longer than all other teams combined; the All Blacks jointly hold the record for the most consecutive test match wins for a tier one ranked nation, along with England. New Zealand competes with Argentina and South Africa in The Rugby Championship; the All Blacks have won the trophy sixteen times in the competition's twenty-three-year history. New Zealand have completed a Grand Slam tour four times – 1978, 2005, 2008 and 2010.
The All Blacks have been named the World Rugby Team of the Year ten times since the award was created in 2001, an All Black has won the World Rugby Player of the Year award ten times over the same period. Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame; the team's first match was in 1884, their first international test match was in 1903 against Australia in Sydney. The following year, they hosted their first home test, a match against a British Isles side in Wellington; this was followed by a 34-game tour of Europe and North America in 1905, where the team suffered only one defeat – their first test loss, against Wales. New Zealand's early uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By the 1905 tour, they were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, the name All Blacks dates from this time; the team perform a Māori challenge or posture dance, before each match. The haka has traditionally been Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate, although since 2005 Kapa o Pango has been performed.
Rugby union – universally referred to only as "rugby" in New Zealand – was introduced to New Zealand by Charles Monro in 1870. The first recorded game in New Zealand took place in May 1870 in Nelson between the Nelson club and Nelson College; the first provincial union, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, was formed in 1879, in 1882 New Zealand's first internationals were played when New South Wales toured the country. NSW did not face a New Zealand representative team but played seven provincial sides – the tourists won four games and lost three. Two years the first New Zealand team to travel overseas toured New South Wales. A organised British team, which became the British and Irish Lions, toured New Zealand in 1888. No test matches were played, the side only played provincial sides; the British players were drawn from Northern England, but there were representatives from Wales and Scotland. In 1892, following the canvassing of provincial administrators by Ernest Hoben, the New Zealand Rugby Football Union was formed by the majority of New Zealand's provincial unions, but did not include Canterbury, Otago or Southland.
The first sanctioned New Zealand side toured New South Wales in 1893, where the Thomas Ellison captained team won nine of their ten matches. The following year New Zealand played its first home "international" game, losing 8–6 to New South Wales; the team's first true test match occurred against Australia on 15 August 1903 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of over 30,000 spectators, resulted in a 22–3 victory. A representative New Zealand team first toured the British Isles in 1905; the side is now known as the "Originals", as the "All Blacks" name emerged during this tour when, according to team member Billy Wallace, a London newspaper reported that the New Zealanders played as if they were "all backs". Wallace claimed that because of a typographical error, subsequent references were to "All Blacks"; this account is most a myth – because of their black playing strip, the side was referred to as the Blacks before they left New Zealand. Though the name All Blacks most existed before the trip, the tour did popularise it.
The Originals played 35 matches on tour, their only loss was a 3–0 defeat to Wales in Cardiff. The match has entered into the folklore of both countries because of a controversy over whether All Black Bob Deans scored a try which would have earned his team a 3–3 draw. In contrast to the success of the Originals on the field, the team did antagonise some in the Home Nations' rugby establishment; this complaint continued to dog New Zealand teams until the 1930s. The success of the Originals had uncomfortable consequences for the amateur NZRFU. In 1907, a party of professional players was assembled to tour the British Isles and play rugby league – a professional offshoot of rugby union, played by clubs that split from England's Rugby Football Union due to disagreements over financial compensation for players; when the "All Golds", as the team came to be known, returned they established rugby league in New Zealand, a large number of players switched to the professional code. English and Welsh authorities were alarmed by the threat of professionalism to rugby in New Zealand, in 1908 an Anglo-Welsh side undertook a tour to New Zealand to help promote the amateu
Chiefs (rugby union)
The Chiefs are a professional rugby union team based in Hamilton, New Zealand. The team competes in the Super Rugby competition known as the Super 12 and Super 14, are one of the competition's five New Zealand teams. Playing in black and yellow coloured jerseys, their primary home ground is Waikato Stadium; until 2004, the Chiefs were the only New Zealand side never to have qualified for the Super 12 semi-finals. In that year the Chiefs earned their first semi-final berth, in the end achieved fourth place, they subsequently reached the 2009 final, but found themselves on the short end of a record 61–17 defeat by the Bulls. The Chiefs were rewarded with a home final after a strong 2012 season; the Chiefs defeated the Sharks 37 -- 6. In 2013, the Chiefs became the fourth team to record back-to-back title wins, when they defeated the Brumbies 27–22 at Waikato Stadium; the Chiefs were founded in 1996 as the Waikato Chiefs for the inaugural Super 12 season in 1996. Prior to the Super 12, the Super 10 competition had been in place, which NPC teams took part in, including Waikato.
In the first year of competition the Chiefs placed 6th in the overall standings, missing out on making the finals. The following season the Chiefs placed 11th, winning 4 games and losing 7. In 1998 the Chiefs performed closer to the standard of their 1996 season and placed at 7th in the final standings. In 1999 the side were able to do one better and claimed 6th position on the ladder but were still yet to make the playoffs. In 2000 the Chiefs won 3 of their regular season games and finished the regular season in 10th place; the following season the team equalled their best position again – finishing 6th. In 2002 the team won 4 games and lost 7 to finish in 8th position, the season after, 2003 Super 12 season, fell to a 10th-place finish, but the season after, the Chiefs won 7 regular season games and came 4th on the ladder – claiming the first semi-final spot in their history. The Chiefs lost the semi-final against the Brumbies. In 2005 the team finished 6th. In 2006, the Super 12 expanded to the Super 14, with the addition of a new Australian and South African club.
The Chiefs drew once with 5 losses to come 7th. In 2009, the Chiefs made their second semi-final, defeating the Hurricanes 14 – 10 to advance to the final for the first time, they lost the final to the Bulls by the biggest-ever margin of 61–17. In the 2010 and 2011 seasons, they were unable to replicate their form of 2009, missing the playoffs in both seasons. In 2012, following the disappointing results of previous years, the Chiefs underwent a significant change in personnel; this included the recruitment of new coaches, including Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith, players, including Aaron Cruden, Ben Tameifuna, Brodie Retallick and Sonny Bill Williams. The changes had an immediate impact as the Chiefs finished at the top of the New Zealand conference, qualifying for a home semi-final, which they won, defeating the Crusaders 20–17, they subsequently hosted the final for the first time in the teams's history, comprehensively defeating the Sharks by 37 – 6, claiming their first title. They set many club records in the 2012 season, including: most home wins, best home streak, best season winning streak, most points and tries scored.
In 2013, the Chiefs again won the Super Rugby title and the New Zealand conference with a regular-season record of 12 wins and four losses. They won the BNZ Cup, a new trophy established by the NZRU for the New Zealand side with the best record in intra-conference matches. In 2016 the Chiefs played a touring Wales side, winning the one-off encounter 40-7. In doing so they became the first New Zealand Super Rugby franchise to defeat an international team. In 2017 the Chiefs played the British and Irish Lions side in Hamilton, losing the encounter 34-6. Since 1999, the Chiefs have'represented' the provincial unions of Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau, King Country, Thames Valley and Waikato. From 1996 to 1998 the Chiefs represented North Harbour and Northland, with Counties Manukau and Thames Valley falling under the Auckland Blues catchment. Had the Blues been allowed to represent the Auckland, North Harbour, Counties Manukau and Northland unions, they would have been able to field a full national team due to player contracting rules at the time.
In an effort by the NZRU to make things more fair, the Chiefs were given North Harbour and Northland, while the Blues were given Counties Manukau and Thames Valley. By 1999, clear regional dominance of national team players no longer existed, so North Harbour and Northland were'returned' to the Blues in exchange for Counties Manukau and Thames Valley. Taranaki was part of the Hurricanes from 1996, but switched to the Chiefs in 2013; the Chiefs are a wholly owned subsidiary of the NZRU. However, in an effort to bring more capital into the sport, the NZRU established a system of privatised operation in 2013. In 2014, it was announced that a new entity,'Chiefs Rugby Club Limited Partnership', had been established, with the NZRU granting the newly formed company a seven-year licence, until the end of the 2020 season, to operate the club. Chiefs Rugby Club itself is 50% owned by the provincial unions within the Chiefs' catchment and 50% by a group of private investors; as part of the Taranaki Rugby Union's investment, the Chiefs will hold two matches per year at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.
The Chiefs have fielded a development team in competitions such as the Pacific Rugby Cup and in matches against other representative teams for several seasons. K
Tonga national rugby league team
The Tonga national rugby league team is represents Tonga in rugby league football. They are the 4th ranked team in the world, the highest ranked tier-two nation; the team was formed to compete in the 1986 Pacific Cup, have competed at five Rugby League World Cups, starting in 1995 and continuing consecutively until the most recent tournament in 2017, where they achieved their best result as semi-finalists. Administered by the Tonga National Rugby League, the team wears a predominately red uniform with white sides, they are associated with the phrase Mate Ma'a Tonga. They are coached by Australian Kristian Woolf, captained by Sika Manu. Rugby league first gained attention in Tonga when the Pacific Cup was held in the country during 1986. After this initial exposure to the Tongan people several clubs began to form or switch from rugby union to rugby league and by 1988 the nation had enough depth in their player pool to begin playing national fixtures and entered the 1988 Pacific Cup competition held in Apia, Samoa.
During that Pacific Cup the Tongans played in three fixtures winning a sole match while losing the other two, with their first international victory coming against the American Samoa side a match that ended 38–14. Over the next two years the national side sporadically played international fixtures but it was not until the 1992 Pacific Cup when they again began playing with some regularity. At the 1992 Cup competition the side showed significant improvement on their previous inaugural cup effort with victories over Niue, Cook Islands and the New Zealand Maori; this run of victories earned them a place in the final of the 1992 Pacific Cup against the Western Samoan side but they lost a close fought match by four points 18–14. The following tournament two years saw the Tongan side show further improvement with several comfortable victories again earning them a spot in final of the Pacific Cup this time against the Fijians who had never defeated the Tongans at that time; the final was a tough affair but the Mate Ma'a were again victorious over Fiji 34–11 and claimed their maiden Pacific Cup title.
During 1995 Tonga qualified for their first World Cup and were seeded in the strong group B with both New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. While Tonga failed to win a match at the World Cup they earned respect after they narrowly lost to the New Zealand team by a single point and earnt a draw against Papua New Guinea; the next four years saw the Tongan side appear in a further Pacific Cup in 1997 and qualify for the 2000 World Cup with comfortable victories over the Cook Islands and American Samoa. Prior to appearing at the 2000 competition the Tongans arranged a friendly fixture against the New Zealand side that they had come so close to defeating during the previous World Cup but this time faced their heaviest defeat to date going down 74-0 and suffering a large dent in confidence prior to the competition. After the heavy defeat to New Zealand their next international fixture was during their second World Cup where the Tongans were again placed in another tough group with France, Papua New Guinea again and the South Africans.
Tonga faced South Africa in their first match of the tournament where they were comfortable victors in a 66–18 drubbing, however the rest of the tournament was not so kind to the Tongan side with losses to both France and Papua New Guinea meaning the Tongans again failed to make it past the first stage of the tournament. With a disappointing World Cup behind them the Mate Ma'a regrouped and again enter the Pacific Cup four years in 2004; the tournament saw the Tongans again qualify for the tournament final with victories over both the Cook Islands and Fiji but the side suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of neighbouring Samoa 51-18. 2006 saw the Tongan side re-enter the Pacific Cup where again they performed qualifying for their second consecutive final where this time they reversed their previous effort with a strong victory over Fiji 22–4 giving them their second Pacific Cup title. 2006 continued to be a busy year of international fixtures for the Tongans which saw them gain qualification into the 2008 World Cup after they finished top of their Pacific group ahead of the Cook Islands and Samoa and defeat the Samoans 18–10 in the qualifying final.
They entered the inaugural Federation Shield competition along with England and Samoa and finish second. England to face Tonga in League final to the English in the final 32–14 after they had defeated both France and Samoa. In April 2013, Tonga took on Samoa in the'2013 Pacific Rugby League Test' at Penrith Stadium; the International was created as a World Cup warm-up match. Tonga targeted Samoa's weak defence, it paid off, thrashing the Toa Samoans by 36–4. Tonga automatically qualified for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup after participating in the 2008 tournament, they took on Scotland and the Cook Islands in the pool stage. In their first match they took on'the Scots', it was a tight and intense rugby league battle, but it was the Scots who prevailed, winning 26–24. Tonga went on and beat'the Kukis', 22–16, Italy, 16–0, but it wasn't enough. Scotland finished the group stage unbeaten, sealing their place in the quarter-final and ending Tonga's World Cup campaign in the process. In May 2015, Tonga took on Samoa in the 2015 Polynesian Cup at Cbus Super Stadium.
The International was part of a triple header which included the Melanesian Cup, between Papua New Guinea and Fiji, the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis. The game was an absolute thriller with the lead alternating between the teams and the biggest margin throughout the match was only 6 points. However, there was always going to be one winner in the s