Toutai Kefu will coach a Tongan invitational side, Kit Shepard reports

Tonga charity rugby match involves Australia legends

A group of Australia rugby legends will take to the field in Brisbane this weekend in a charity match to raise funds for Tonga.

Toutai Kefu, the former Wallaby No 8 and current Tonga coach, will coach a Tongan invitational side against the Vintage Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 19 February.

Tonga charity rugby match

Digby Ioane enjoys training (Kev Nagle)

Kefu’s team includes George Smith, Lote Tuqiri, Wendell Sailor and Digby Ioane, with a lot of players gearing up for the match by training recently, while the Reds are coached by Dan Herbert and feature Chris Latham, Drew Mitchell and James Horwill.

Tonga was struck by a volcanic eruption and tsunami last month that left it with power shortages for several days and damaged communities, with ash covering buildings and roads and clean water in short supply.

Money raised from the match will go to UNICEF’s Tonga Recovery Appeal – you can donate here.

Tonga-born Kefu, who was hospitalised last year after being attacked during a home invasion at his house in Brisbane, said: “Our country has been devastated by this disaster, so every cent we can raise counts.

“We’ve got some great players strapping on the boots for both teams and it’s going to be a great spectacle.”

It will be a 40-minute game that serves as a curtain-raiser for the Reds’ Super Rugby Pacific opener against the Melbourne Rebels.

Toutai Kefu

Toutai Kefu will coach the Tongan team (Kev Nagle)

Elsewhere, Super Rugby Pacific will donate funds to help people on the islands through the ‘Tries for Tonga’ campaign.

The initiative will see NZ$500 donated for each try scored in the first ten rounds of the 2022 season.

The money will go to the New Zealand Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Appeal.

It will be pooled by New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia, alongside broadcast partners Sky and Stan Sport/Nine.

The same donation will apply throughout this year’s Super Rugby Aupiki, New Zealand’s new domestic women’s competition that takes place in March.

Super Rugby Pacific naming rights partner DHL has gifted $20,000 up front.

Sophie Moloney, chief executive at Sky, said: “We’re delighted to be part of Tries for Tonga. We’re hoping for a try-scoring fest in both competitions for our customers and the Red Cross alike.”

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