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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tonga beat Fiji convincingly in Pacific Nations Cup opener

Tonga beat Fiji convincingly in Pacific Nations Cup opener

Tonga got their Pacific Nations Cup campaign off to a strong start on Saturday with a 45-21 upset win over hosts Fiji in Lautoka It was their first win in the competition in three years.

Yesterday you saw highlights of Samoa's win over Japan , but many would have expected this particular game, the tournament opener, to be a fair tighter affair. Instead it was Tonga that impressed with their strong defensive effort, and blistering speed out wide.

They scored five tries to two as the dangerous Fijian backs were prevented from cutting loose, while Tongan flyhalf Kurt Morath took his personal tally to 20 points with some good goal kicking, slotting four conversions and four penalties.

Fiji scored a brilliant try of their own though, a length of the field effort that was finished off by lock Sekonaia Kalou, who somehow managed to get up there in support. Tongan Viliame Iongi punished the Fijians shortly after though as they camped on the Tongan tryline, but coughed up turnover ball. The speedster gassed all before him, sealing the win for the visitors.

Tongan coach Isitolo Maka remained grounded however, even if it was their first win in the tournament since 2008.

"I don't think the score reflected the tightness of the game. There were a couple of lucky tries which made the score look bigger than it should have. We won't kid ourselves, we have plenty of work to do," he said.

The next round of games take place this coming weekend, with Tonga facing Japan, while Fiji host Samoa. Both games will take place in Suva, Fiji.


:: Related Posts ::
Samoa get off to a good start in the Pacific Nations Cup
Time: 05:55

Posted at 12:41 pm | 19 comments

Viewing 19 comments

Rowan DeBues July 06, 2011 3:14 pm

That winger Iongi has super pace! Hope Tonga can keep up their good form. Anyone know why Soane Tonga'uiha ain't playing?

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Chris July 06, 2011 4:16 pm

Hope all the pacific nations teams can put out the big hitters for the world cup. Want to see Pesamino, Caucau etc all playing

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Anonymous July 06, 2011 4:25 pm

thanks

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Manu July 06, 2011 4:32 pm

I didn't know Nicky Little still played. Legend!

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Rick July 06, 2011 4:39 pm

caucau is staying with toulousse for the WC and so is isa with leinster! some serious hits defense and offloads! wouldn't like to have them in my pool!

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Anonymous July 06, 2011 5:07 pm

Being a Welshman, I am worried...

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Guy July 06, 2011 5:39 pm

That Tonga nr 15 looks like a decent player...

Nice to see highlights from some different natiosn every now and than. Thanks RD!

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Anonymous July 06, 2011 7:32 pm

I believe Tonga'uiha is being rested after a long season with Northampton. He should be the Tongan no1 for the World Cup, though Sona Taumalolo played very well against Fiji.

Pesamino and Caucau will not be at the World Cup. Tagicakibau and Tuilagi are better for Samoa anyway and Caucau is staying with Toulouse. Don't worry, the island sides will still field close to their strongest sides ever in the professional era. Samoa in particular looks very dangerous.

Vungakoto Lilo is the Tongan fullback, he plays for Bordeaux in France, previously for Bristol in England. He's very big (6'4") and fast, and vice-captain of the side. Certainly a player to watch in the upcoming World Cup.

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ilexvunibola July 06, 2011 8:53 pm

good job for tonga ,,,but for fiji hope they get it together since the rwc in just around the corner.Even a test with the all blacks before the world cup. No excuse for the boys for they 1st test together and playing test level in different positions for some players.N excuse at all ,,Tonga came out flying and was focused ,,what happened to the running style from the boys ,,a taste of their own stuff for the flying fijians!!! Malo Tonga!!!! come on boys get it together Samoa up next man!!!!

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Anonymous July 06, 2011 9:11 pm

Thanks for the highlights!

That Tongan winger - blitz!

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Anonymous July 07, 2011 1:04 am

Nice game, hope both Islands will be alright - a 7.8 magnitude Earthquake just recorded away from the New Zealand shore, North Island.

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Anonymous July 07, 2011 2:36 am

Tonga did really well in this game.

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SmellyNerfherder July 07, 2011 7:28 am

Phenomenal break by the winger! What amazing breakdown play by the Tongans: completely outclassed the Fijians! That's a team to watch!

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Anonymous July 07, 2011 7:54 am

Wow, wat pace from the winger... and as said before the full back from tonga looked handy too.

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Nick July 07, 2011 9:52 am

Great game from Tonga.

Is this the same group of players from the Chruchill cup?

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Anonymous July 07, 2011 2:32 pm

Is Iongi the same guy who got the hatrick in the Churchill Cup? I know it was number 14 who scored the hatrick but I don't know his name, maybe they switched sides.

Anyway, the 14 who scored the hatrick is amazing.

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Anonymous July 07, 2011 7:35 pm

heres to hoping the pacific islanders will no doubt spring a few upsets in the WC. is good to see some current and former super 15 players being able to represent there country of birth

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Anonymous July 08, 2011 5:03 am

Yes it is the same player. Iongi wore no11 in the CC but played on the right wing when he scored 4 tries against the US.

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Anonymous July 12, 2011 10:56 am

that lilo looks pretty lethal! big boy travelling at pace right there

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