Opinion: Take a long, hard look NZ - diehard Tonga and Peru sports fans are putting us to shame

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New Zealand, we need to up our game off the field.

Tonga's culture was on full display as junior and senior players showed each other the ultimate respect.
Source: 1 NEWS

If there's anything to take away from the past few weeks of international sporting action it's this – we as a sporting nation have brilliant teams with sub-par fan bases.

Before you grab your pitch forks, think about it.

When was the last time we showed the same diehard passion and love for one of our national teams that Mate Ma'a Tonga has seen in their Rugby League World Cup campaign?

Mate Ma'a Tonga's supporters have stolen the show at this year's tournament says Joseph Tapine.
Source: 1 NEWS

When was the last time we filled a stadium or an airport with deafening songs, chants – even dancing?

When was the last time we were so desperate to see our team win we lit fireworks in front of the opposition's hotel to disrupt their sleeping patterns?

Okay, that last one was admittedly a little bit over the top and, to an extent, pseudo-cheating in my eyes but the same denominator that comes from all of these actions and moments is the same – the fan bases are insanely committed to their teams and will do anything to help them win.

Credit where it's due, Glen Osborne tried to spark a counter to the Barmy Army when they arrived for the Lions Tour with the "Tutira Mai" song and chant to back the All Blacks but even that lacked the flare and adoration we've come to see over these last few weeks.

If I were to pick a time when Kiwis were at their best for a New Zealand team this year it would be for the America's Cup parades around the country, but that was after it was all said and done.

The Team NZ helmsman is shocked by how many New Zealanders have braved the Auckland winter.
Source: 1 NEWS

That energy was reserved for the celebration – not to be the extra bit of wind to get Team NZ across the line first.

Mate Ma'a Tonga wins their opening match of a World Cup and their fans literally bring a South Auckland suburb to a standstill – the funniest part in all of that is that the game wasn't even in Otahuhu (or New Zealand for that matter) and they were still partying like the Auld Mug was rolling down the street.

People were riding on cars, playing music cheering and showing how proud they were of their team after the historic win.
Source: 1 NEWS

To emphasise again, I don't condone partying in the streets and all the hullabaloo that comes with it but what is undeniable is the love and devotion these fans have for their teams.

The All Blacks can beat a team by 20 points and we're still unimpressed.

The locals got a chance to rub shoulders with the men in black overnight.
Source: 1 NEWS

There comes a time where as a nation we need to not be afraid to shed that humble coat we wear in the build up to and during live matches and just let our voices be heard.

Either that or we could be seeing more "homefield advantages" turning into seas of red, blue, green or whatever colour a lively fan wants to paint their face in – as long as it helps the team win, right?

The team hadn't even touched down yet and the party had already started.
Source: 1 NEWS

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