12 Jan 2017

Sport: Tonga still hold hope of hosting test despite Welsh doubts

7:20 am on 12 January 2017

The CEO of the Tonga Rugby Union (TRU) is still confident the country can host Wales for a scheduled June test despite concerns expressed by his welsh counterpart.

Hallam Amos of Wales takes on Vunga Lilo of Tonga. (2013)

Wales and Tonga could end up playing in Auckland, New Zealand. The last time they faced off was in Cardiff, 2013 where the Welsh won 17 -7 (pictured). Photo: Photosport

Wales Rugby Union CEO Martyn Phillips said this week that Tonga is nowhere near where it needs to be to host a game.

Radio Tonga reported Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni also said the government tendered construction for the Teufaiva national stadium in the hope of getting it prepared for the Wales test but the few companies who submitted their bids lacked the professionalism to carry out the work.

Sovaleni said they are giving bidding parties a chance to complete the requirements this week.

TRU CEO Fe'ao Vunipola said he still thinks Tonga can host the game

"I think until the end of March, that will be when the definite answer to all these questions will be made because when the work is programmed for the rugby pitch to be completed to the satisfaction of World Rugby and Welsh officials," Vunipola said.

"For the time being, we have to be positive."

Wales Rugby Union representatives were in Tonga in December to check facilities and found no completed pitch and continued concerns about medical cover.

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WRU CEO still holds concerns about Tonga's ability to host a test Photo: Wales Rugby Union

Following the visit Phillips told the BBC uncertainty remained and there was a need to meet with the World Rugby governing body again.

Vunipola said anyone can have an opinion on the way things are.

"I think in a way he, [Phillips], is trying to make sure he motivates us to push forward and try and finish the work to be able to host the game."

Auckland is earmarked as an alternative venue for the game if Teufaiva is not ready in time.

Vunipola said there are a lot of Tongan supporters in Auckland so it makes sense as Plan B.

Wales is also scheduled to play Samoa in Apia on June 24 and there are no apparent issues surrounding that fixture.