The Tongan league team has received a winner's welcome in Christchurch today, following their thrilling win over the Kiwis.

There are colourful scenes at Christchurch Airport, with thousands of Mate Ma'a Tonga supporters turning out to support their favourite sons.

There is a sea of red as people enter the airport and there are many more outside, where the team's bus is waiting to leave.

Many are waving Tongan flags, while others hold up banners bearing their favourite players' names or photos.

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There were loud cheers, singing and dancing as the team took to the stage, before captain Sika Manu briefly addressed the crowd in Tongan.

Fans rushed towards favourites, including Jason Taumalolo, for photographs and to place flower garlands around their necks.

The Tongan team will play a quarter-final match at AMI Stadium on Saturday.

It follows a thrilling come-back in yesterday's game against the Kiwis, where they scored several tries in a span of just under 20 minutes in the second-half to come away with a 28-22 win.

There were emotional scenes in the dying minutes of the game, in Hamilton, as players and coaching staff on the sidelines knew their win was secured and began hugging; while the ecstatic sold-out crowd roared.