Daniel Tupou: I feel like we’ve got the best fans around the world

Josh McAllister
Daniel Tupou

Tonga’s Daniel Tupou paid tribute to the fans following his hat-trick performance against Wales that saw his side claim a 32-6 victory on Monday night.

7,752 attended the Totally Wicked Stadium for their second group game of the tournament, with 10,409 spectators for their opening fixture at the same venue against Papua New Guinea.

As the team pulled up outside the St Helens ground for their match against Wales, fans once again swarmed the players heading into the stadium to show their support. 

And that hasn’t been lost on the Tonga team insist both star winger Daniel Tupou and head coach Kristian Woolf.

Daniel Tupou: We love it

“We’ve got real passionate fans,” Tupou told Love Rugby League. 

“I feel like we’ve got the best fans around the world. It obviously showed how passionate they were today, holding up the bus, even though we were a couple of minutes late already!

“The passion that they bring, that’s normal back in Tonga. We love it. It’s great.

“We’ve got a massive fanbase here and they definitely got us across the line tonight.”

‘It’s certainly not lost on any of us’

Tonga found themselves 6-0 down early on against John Kear’s Dragons, but later found their rhythm, scoring three times before the break for a 16-6 lead.

Three more tries, including Tupou completing his hat-trick, saw the side to a 32-6 victory and all-but secured their place in the quarter-finals. 

Tonga’s fans have been a highlight of the tournament so far, with head coach Woolf commenting: “It’s outstanding to see the number of people who have come from America, New Zealand and Australia. 

“Some people have made a real commitment to come over and support this team. 

“If we were in New Zealand of Australia, you know it’s a full house, that’s what our fans are like. But it’s outstanding that they’ve made such an effort to get over here and show their support. It’s certainly not lost on any of us.” 

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