Kite calls for more Pacific Islands battles

Tonga captain Brent Kite believes the World Cup should trigger more international matches between the Pacific Islands nations.

A sell-out crowd at Leigh Sports Village witnessed a gripping contest between Kite’s side and the Cook Islands, with Tonga coming away 22-16 winners.

There has been great interest in the matches in the so-called lesser groups at the World Cup, and there are growing calls to develop an organised international calendar to take advantage of the tournament’s success so far.

Kite said: “I’m a bit sore after that! I’ve been pretty impressed with the competition so far, everyone, especially the emerging pools, seems to be able to beat anyone else on a given day, and teams are certainly turning up with plenty of national pride.

“I’ve got ambitions to see the World Cup grow, and there’s been a real surprise in the quality.

“It’s been well supported in the north, packing out the little stadiums, with good atmosphere and good results to go with it. It’s good for the international game.

“There was a good buzz around the April test (Tonga v Samoa), and that’s only going to grow in popularity. There’s a heavy influence in the NRL of polynesian based players, and we have to recognise that, and fixtures like the April test can only help to grow the game internationally.

“A few more fixtures like that would be good.”

Tonga round off their World Cup group with a game against Italy against Halifax on Sunday, but their tournament could be over by then, if Scotland defeat the USA at Salford on Thursday.

Kite added: “I don’t want to beg, but get out there USA and get us a win! It’ll be much appreciated and we’ll owe you one.”

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