Tonga overcome brave Wales effort to register 32-6 World Cup win

TONGA registered an unconvincing 32-6 win over Wales at the Totally Wicked Stadium tonight.

An instant mistake from Josh Ralph handed Tonga an early opportunity, but Wales kept their opponents out despite two goal line drop-outs in a row.

A Sione Katoa error invited the Welsh to attack the Tongan line, but Dalton Grant was held up courtesy of a brilliant last-ditch tackle by Tesi Niu.

However, Wales thoroughly deserved the lead when Kyle Evans cantered over from 50 metres in the 17th minute after hitting Siosifa Talakai with everything. Matty Fozard converted for a 6-0 lead.

Daniel Tupou hit back for Tonga, rounding the defence from a scrum move just after the midway point in the first-half though Siosiua Taukeiaho missed his conversion.

Tonga should have scored again as the half-hour approached, but Sione Katoa lost the ball with the line begging.

Wales were in fantastic form in defence, but they finally cracked when David Fifita rampaged through three men to finally send Tonga into the lead with four minutes of the half remaining. Tui Lolohea converted to make it 10-6.

Two tries in two minutes struck a dagger into the Welsh hearts as Keaon Koloamatangi dived over on the hooter as Tonga led 16-6 at the break.

Kristian Woolf’s men began the second-half in the same fashion as they ended the first – on the front foot – as Tesi Niu made light work of Wales’ defence to crash through eight minutes in.

Lolohea converted and the playmaker almost scored himself moments later, but the Huddersfield star was held up brilliantly.

That was only delaying the inevitable though and Tupou grabbed his second just before the hour following a neat right to left shift to the corner. Lolohea couldn’t convert as Tonga led 26-6.

Tonga were denied one of the greatest tries of the tournament so far when Lolohea’s kick was flicked back inside by Tolutau Koula, but the ball had just touched the white line before the livewire acrobatically threw himself at the field.

It didn’t take long for Woolf’s side to get another, however, as Tupou registered his third on 71 minutes. Siosifa Talakai took over the kicking duties with a phenomenal effort from the touchline to make it 32-6.

By now Wales were spent of energy, but brilliant Welsh defence kept their vastly stronger opponents out until the final whistle.


Tesi Niu, Daniel Tupou, Siosifa Talakai, Konrad Hurrell, Sione Katoa, Talatau Amone, Tui Lolohea, Addin Fonua-Blake, Soni Luke, Moeaki Fotuaika, Felise Kaufusi, Keaon Koloamatangi, Soisiua Taukeiaho (C). Subs (all used): Tolutau Koula, Tevita Tatola, David Fifita, Ben Murdoch-Masila

Tries: Tupou 3, Fifita, Koloamatangi, Niu
Goals: Taukeiaho 0/1, Lolohea 3/4, Talakai 1/1


Caleb Aekins, Kyle Evans, Dalton Grant, Elliot Kear (C), Rhys Williams, Oliver Olds, Josh Ralph, Ant Walker, Matty Fozard, Gavin Bennion, Chester Butler, Bailey Antrobus, Joe Burke. Subs (all used): Dan Fleming, Curtis Davies, Connor Davies, Tom Hopkins

Tries: Evans
Goals: Fozard 1/1

Half-time: 16-6
Referee: Kasey Badger
Scoring sequence: 0-6, 4-6, 10-6, 16-6, 22-6, 26-6, 32-6
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens