Watch: Relaxed Manu Vatuvei loses it, bursts out in hysterics at Tonga training

Mate Ma'a Tonga winger Manu Vatuvei burst out in a fit of uncontrollable laughter at his side's training this morning, sharing a joke with one of the team's assistants.

Vatuvei, 31, was famed for his light hearted chuckle during his time at the Warriors, with the winger subjecting his teammates to another bout of hysterics this morning.

Mate Ma'a Tonga are preparing for their Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against England at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.

While it's not known what prompted the laughter, it shows the side is in good spirits ahead of the match. 

More Tonga content from the World Cup

Tui Lolohea says that the Tongan team can't believe how many fans are supporting them at the World Cup. Source: 1 NEWS

Taumalolo said he didn’t want to tell Kiwis coach David Kidwell his decision to play for Tonga because he wasn’t completely sober at the time. Source: 1 NEWS

Mate Ma'a Tonga arrived in the Garden City this afternoon after their landmark win over Kiwis yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS

Everyone wanted a piece of the superstar forward as the team arrived in the Garden City. Source: 1 NEWS

The Mate Ma'a Tonga winger enjoyed a lighter moment with one of the team's assistants. Source: 1 NEWS


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Watch: Kangaroos dive into Māori culture with haka and mau rākau lessons, enjoy traditional hāngi

The Kangaroos have taken time out from preparing for this weekend's clash against Mate Ma'a Tonga to learn about Maori culture.

The Australian rugby league side spent last night at Papakura Marae where they were given a traditional pōwhiri welcoming before getting stuck into various activities.

Players were taught mau rākau (taiaha skills) and the haka during the visit as well as helping dig up and feast on a traditional hāngi.

The Kangaroos play Mate Ma'a Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium at 7:30pm this Saturday.

The Australians gave everything a crack at Papakura Marae. Source: Kangaroos / Twitter


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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern helps send special message to Mate Ma'a Tonga fans

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has helped send Mate Ma’a Tonga fans a special message ahead of the fan day at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

Appearing alongside Labour list MP Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki and Tamati Coffey, the MP for Waiariki, Ms Ardern encouraged fans to stay safe and look after each other.

Tui Lolohea and Andrew Fifita are grateful for the fanatical support their side receives. Source: 1 NEWS

Despite their flight being delayed a few hours from Sydney the Tongan fans showed their support at Vodafone Events centre in Manukau. Source: 1 NEWS

Hurell and teammate Jason Taumalolo joined fans dancing during their welcome at Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau. Source: 1 NEWS

She also urged fans to carpool or use public transport to get to the stadium.

In the video, Ms Ardern said the huge showing of support from Tongan fans after the team’s arrival in New Zealand was incredible

The prime minister called the huge showing of support from Tongan fans incredible. Source: Facebook/AnahilaKS

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Tongan playmaker Tui Lolohea fulfils long-held dream to play the Kangaroos

Tonga's historic maiden Test against the Kangaroos on Saturday will see Tui Lolohea fulfill a long-held dream.

The clash marks the Tongan playmaker's return to Mt Smart, a place where he started his career at the Warriors.

“It’s kind of like a dream, I’ve always wanted to play against Aussie, growing up you know they were the best team in the world and I just want to play against them, at the age of 23 I finally get the opportunity.”

The Tonga prop will line up against his former side at Mt Smart Stadium this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS

Tui Lolohea and Andrew Fifita are grateful for the fanatical support their side receives. Source: 1 NEWS

“I’m going to remember this game for the rest of my life.”

The former Warrior returns to Mt Smart this Saturday for a game he says he’ll remember for the rest of his life. Source: 1 NEWS


Andrew Fifita slams his Cronulla Shark side over lack for recognition for Mate Ma'a Tonga achievements

Andrew Fifita has slammed a perceived lack of recognition from Cronulla for his deeds with Tonga, believing it reflects a widespread lack of respect for the island nation.

Outspoken prop Fifita will play against his former Kangaroos team in Saturday's Test at Mt Smart Stadium, where Mate Ma'a Tonga will hope to recapture the magic of last year's extraordinary World Cup campaign.

The face of international rugby league changed last year when former Kangaroos prop Fifita joined forces with Jason Taumalolo and a handful of other Kiwis, transforming Tonga into a World Cup force who narrowly missed a place in the final.

Fifita's late decision to pull out of the Australian World Cup squad caused a backlash and he feels he is still paying a price.

Tui Lolohea and Andrew Fifita are grateful for the fanatical support their side receives. Source: 1 NEWS

The Sharks acknowledged Kangaroos players Aaron Woods and Valentine Holmes in official social media posts over the past week, along with their Junior Kangaroos representatives.

"If I was in Australia the club would be proud that I was in it (but) I am still waiting for my Instagram post that I am playing for Tonga from the club," Fifita said.

"And I remember our CEO sitting there (at a Cronulla presentation) and giving all the credits to all the Australian players and Junior Kangaroos, and I was waiting for my name to be called, just for representing on the international stage. There was no Tonga, no PNG for Chico (James Segeyaro) and that.

"I just wish our little tier two nations could be recognised too. I don't think we are there yet but if our team goes out and gets the job done on the weekend I guess we will be known as a forceful team."

Fifita, who has played seven Tests for both nations, recalls the public backlash after he switched camps a year ago - two days after being unveiled in Mal Meninga's Australian World Cup squad.

The 29-year-old accepts he left the decision later than he should have but was unimpressed at what he labelled ignorant opinion directed towards he and Taumalolo.

"We copped a lot of criticism first from players and from journos and a lot of Australian people and New Zealand people.

"I'm very grateful I come from two nationalities. If you haven't got two nationalities, you shouldn't talk on what I'm feeling and how we feel about our countries."

A trip to Tonga in 2016 prompted Fifita to consider a change, even though it would impact on his NSW State of Origin prospects and leave a hole in his pocket.

He and Taumalolo were adamant they should follow their heart while still in their prime, rather than at the end of their careers.

"Everyone said thank you for doing it. We kind of made the World Cup exciting."

The Tonga prop will line up against his former side at Mt Smart Stadium this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS