5 Nov 2017

Electric atmosphere as Tonga, Samoa clash

10:38 am on 5 November 2017

The atmosphere at Waikato Stadium is electric with Tongan and Samoan supporters cheering and singing side-by-side as the two Pacific teams' clash.

The players from the two teams embraced and knelt for a moment to pray together before kickoff, sending a message of unity to fans who have clashed in the leadup to the game.

The Samoan Siva Tau and the Tongan Sipi Tau were then performed, each team advancing closer to each other, thrilling the the crowd.

Many fans have dressed up and selfies are rife as thousands file into the stadium.

About 17,000 tickets have been sold to the clash.

There is a sea of Tonga supporters in red, with a bit of blue from Samoa mixed in.

Some have travelled from as far away as the United States to be there.

She said Mate Ma'a Tonga and Toa Samoa fans were cheering for their teams, waving flags, beeping horns.

Tonga fans Beni Kepu, Josiah Havea and Sione Moala play for Tonga's under-16 Rugby League team.

They travelled to Hamilton today to play the New Zealand Resident's team and said they "thrashed" them.

Sione said they were predicting a Mate Ma'a Tonga win by two tries.

Tupou said it was a family atmosphere with a lot of good-natured competition between fans ahead of kick-off at 7.30pm.

A police spokesperson said there would be a large presence both inside and outside the stadium in Hamilton.

Brawls in South Auckland marred the the run up to the game with a dozen arrests being made throughout the week.

Tonga fans dress up in Hamilton.

Tonga fans dress up in Hamilton. Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou

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