A public holiday has been declared in Tonga to celebrate last Saturday’s historic Test triumph over the Kangaroos, with members of the successful team invited to the island Kingdom for an official reception.
Prime Minister Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa publicly congratulated Tonga coach Kristian Woolf, captain Jason Taumalolo and the players and staff for their emotion-charged 16-12 win at Eden Park and 14-6 win against Great Britain a week earlier.
A public holiday has been approved on Friday, November 15, with players expected to begin arriving in Tonga next week.
With the team forced to play as Tonga Invitational XIII due to political infighting, Prime Minister Tuʻiʻonetoa described Woolf’s side as the 'Winning Warriors' in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Match Highlights: Tonga Invitational v Australia
“Such is the spirit of immense joy, felicitations, and thankfulness conveyed, on behalf of His Majesty The King Tupou VI, The Government and the People of the Kingdom of Tonga, to the Captain, the Manager, the officials and the Head Coach of the Winning Warriors Tonga Team respectively, for the outstanding, awe inspiring, and unique triumph of the Tonga Rugby League Invitational XIII over the reigning Australian and British Rugby League Teams,” the statement said.
Woolf is unable to attend the festivities as he left on Tuesday to take up his new role as head coach of St Helens in the Super League.
The IRL is set to announce details of the 2020 international calendar, with Tonga expected to play New Zealand in the mid-year Oceania Cup Test and Fiji at the end of the season.