Heroes’ welcome for Tongans

Thousands of Tongans took to the streets of their capital city, Nuku’alofa, on Wednesday to welcome home their national team from its Rugby World Cup campaign.

Reigning monarch King George V greeted players and management at his official residence after they had driven from the airport along streets thronged by supporters clad in red, the national colour.

Players paraded through city streets in a float watched by thousands of dancing and cheering supporters and Prime Minister Feleti Sevele later hosted the team at a formal government reception.

Tonga won two of its four pool matches at the World Cup in France, beating the United States and Samoa and losing narrowly to world powers South Africa and England.

The team had never previously won two matches at one World Cup and it came close to joining Pacific neighbours Fiji in the tournament quarter-finals.

– AP 365 Digital

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