14 Sep 2011

Whangarei in party mood for Rugby World Cup match

6:33 pm on 14 September 2011

Whangarei is in party mode with big crowds of in town for the Rugby World Cup match between Tonga and Canada.

Tai Tokerau has put out the welcome mat for the teams - with homes, schools and businesses decked out in red to honour the flags of both teams - and the other nation being hosted in the north, Japan.

The man who co-ordinated the powhiri for Wednesday afternoon's Canada and Tonga match, William Kaipo, says he's impressed with the friendliness of the players, and the way they've engaged with the Northland public.

He says he had expected there to be strict rules around team training, but instead they have embraced the local community.

The Canada versus Tonga game is a sell-out, with a number of disappointed Tongan fans arriving from Auckland this afternoon only to find they couldn't buy tickets.