Tonga and Italy looked set to produce a scoreless yet exciting first half at Halifax with the deadlock broken 20 seconds before the interval with a penalty goal from Tonga’s Sami Langi.
Play went end to end throughout but defences were on top and scoring chances were at a premium.
Italian second row Cameron Ciraldo broke from a Paul Vaughan pass after 15 minutes but his pass went to ground.
On 23 minutes Josh Mantellatoe had a try ruled out; after a scrappy period of play Cameron Ciraldo’s over-arm pass looked to have put the winger in but on review he was adjudged to have grounded short.
Twice Italy spilled the ball from their own scrum inside their own half but were able to defend strongly, the deadlock only being broken with Langi’s penalty.