Tongan centre Tane Tu’ipulotu reveals there is nothing better than the sight of the Sipi Tau, a pre-game war dance which his fellow countrymen will perform before kick-off when the Falcons do battle with the Pacific Islanders next Tuesday (kick-off 7.30pm).
Tu’ipulotu, 31, who re-joined the Falcons during the summer, has appealed to families to descend on Kingston Park to experience what he describes as an ‘awesome sight.’
“It is very similar to the Haka, and it is an awesome sight for spectators,” said the former Junior All Black.
He added: “It is a really good way to see how one team looks to get the better of another by performing a war dance.
There is real fire in the eyes of the players when it is performed, and it used to be performed when two tribes went to war with one another.
The international is the first of its kind to take place at Kingston Park since September 1990 when now Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards scored one of six tries in a 32-6 victory over Newcastle Gosforth to mark the newly constructed ground.
Next week’s match also marks the return of former Falcons favourite Epi Taione, who has recently being installed as chairman of the Tonga Rugby Union after beating the country’s Prime Minister in an election to secure the post.
Tu’ipulotu said: “I have known Epi [Taione] since he was a kid at school and it will be great to see him back in the North East next week.
“He was a good player for the club and I bet he wished he was playing against his old club, but I’m sure it will be a proud moment for him.
“It will be great for our supporters to rub shoulders with him before and after the game, and I am looking forward to seeing him again.”
Also making a significant appearance on the night is Falcons wing Suka Hufanga, who continues his international career with Tonga.
Tu’ipulotu has backed Hufanga to shine on the international stage, saying: “I’ve been texting Suka [Hufanga] recently and he is enjoying his time in Italy where the Tonga squad are currently based.
I’m sure he will fancy his chances against his current teammates and I think his appearance will make for an entertaining spectacle.
Firstly the Falcons continue their charge towards the Aviva Premiership as they host second place Nottingham this Friday (kick-off 8pm), before switching their attention to Tonga on Tuesday 13 November (kick-off 7.30pm).
Tickets for both games are still available online by clicking here or call the Falcons ticket hotline on 0871 226 6060.