29 Oct 2015

Sport: Tonga Rugby League on the lookout for more test matches

12:24 pm on 29 October 2015

Having sealed qualification for the Rugby League World Cup, Tonga is working hard to arrange some extra test matches in the countdown to 2017.

The Mate Ma'a beat the Cook Islands 28-8 in a winner-takes-all clash earlier this month in Sydney.

Head coach Kristian Woolf says with long club campaigns and extended pre-seasons there isn't a lot of space for the international calendar.

He says the annual Pacific Test against Samoa is a godsend and they want to try and build off that.

"That's locked in for the next two years which is massive for us. I've been involved for three years and just trying to find games has been really difficult so, the fact that we've got that one locked in game each year, at least you know that's coming up.

"There's a bit of continuity with the group and the players and they know it's coming up as well and it's certainly helped in terms of getting players to commit to Tonga.

"I'd definitely like to play at least one game this time next year as well and possibly even two so we've already put some feelers out as to who might be available to play a test match. That will probably be all we can do in terms of playing preparation and the rest will be away from the playing field."

Tonga celebrate qualifying for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Tonga celebrate qualifying for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. Photo: Twitter / NRL