The American National Rugby League and Tongan National Rugby League are excited to announce that the two nations will battle for the 'Ohana Cup' on May 12 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The 'Ohana Cup' will be a trophy contested by the USA Tomahawks and pacific island nations. Ohana means family in Hawaiian and is a fitting name for contests in a region with a significant Polynesian heritage.
Details for the match will be announced shortly with the game expected to be played in an area of Oahu that has a large Tongan community. Similar to the Donnybrook Cup, the event schedule will feature both rugby union and rugby league matches throughout the day including youth, high school, men and women's games. A full day of entertainment is being developed that will include food, music and performances to celebrate the local community.
"This match and the tour by Tonga, will be another critical building block for the USA Tomahawks program as the coaching staff prepares the squad for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. We had a successful start to the year with a really positive mini camp and match against Ireland in the Donnybrook Cup led by Marcus Vassilakopoulos. This Tongan match and team assembly will now give Matty Elliot, Vassy, and Lee Addison a chance to address the next phase of their player and team preparation plan. Not only will it be a tough challenge for our players on the field, but it will also be another great opportunity to present the sport of rugby league at a high level in front of a large rugby community. We look forward to welcoming our friends from Tonga to enjoy the Aloha Spirit and a wonderful celebration of rugby in the Hawaiian community", said AMNRL President, David Niu.
It is expected that the Tongans will play a warm up match against an Hawaiian regional squad in the lead up to the test match with the USA Tomahawks on the Saturday evening of May 12.
This rugby league international will be a great platform for both nations to blood new talent in preparation for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup where Tonga is in Pool C and the USA in Pool D. Currently the Tongans are ranked 9th and the USA Tomahawks ranked 11 in the world standings.
Stay tuned for more news on the Ohana Cup to be announced soon.