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Huge hit by Tonga in Pacific Nations Cup


Ma'afu banned for punch on Tom Youngs

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rugby World Cup Daily - Tonga beat Japan

Tonga and Japan provided another entertaining World Cup game earlier today as the Tongan fans finally got something to cheer about, as their side came away 31-18 winners in Whangarei.

Flyhalf Kurt Morath kicked sixteen points for the Tongans as Japan suffered their 17th consecutive RWC loss. Coach John Kirwan had aspirations of picking up at least one win, and Tonga would have been a game they targeted for a win.

Vili Ma'afu, Lua Lokotui, and Fetu'u Vainikolo all scored tries for the Tongans while Morath did the rest with the boot. Japan themselves scored three, but failed to land most of their kicks.

In today's Rugby World Cup daily there is a short recap of the game, but we also get to see what's happening at the fanzone in Christchurch, where despite their being no matches, they're still creating a tournament buzz.

There's also a look at why the smaller nations, often referred to as minnows, are now becoming more of a threat, as they are no longer serious whipping boys when it comes to the World Cup.

You can view official highlights from the match here.

What were your thoughts on the match, and do you see Tonga progressing further?

Posted at 3:06 pm | 13 comments

Posted in Rugby World Cup 2011

Viewing 13 comments

Frenchie September 21, 2011 7:45 pm

2 forward passes leading to a try from Tonga not whistled by ref??

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Scotsman September 21, 2011 9:56 pm

Pearson the worst ref I've ever seen

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themull September 21, 2011 11:37 pm

Pretty poor game..Japan made so many basic errors it was painful to watch..They would likely have beat Tonga comfortably if they could have kept a hold of the ball...The tongan pack however dominated at ruck time and turned over so much ball it was hard for the Japanese to get going even when they didn't knock it on..

I don't know whether it was a lack of fitness on Japan's part or a lack of awareness at getting to the ruck but they struggled badly in that area...Unfortunately the gap between tier 1 and tier 2 nations is still huge..Sure there have been a few scares but in the end the quality gap is still far too evident..

I'm still astounded that they gave the WC to New Zealand instead of Japan..Japan(without the earthquake etc) would have been a much better venue to host the world cup..Weather would have been dryer, the nation would definitely have the infrastructure to host it and cope with the huge numbers of fans and most importantly it would have created huge interest in the game in Japan, an emerging nation which needs that extra boost...

Here's hoping that the IRB starts giving the Hosting Job to more up and coming nations rather than those already established ones...

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Jeri September 21, 2011 11:49 pm

Wonder how they'll do against Canada. Japan as a team has really raised their own bar in this year's RWC, too bad they don't have the results to show for it.

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moddeur September 22, 2011 12:06 am

I do see Tonga making progress in their game in years to come (and the same is true for Japan), but I don't see them progressing further in this competition. To make it to the quarterfinals, they would not only have to beat France, but also beat them with the attacking bonus (Canada and Japan are already disqualified). Which means landing 4 tries, and that will certainly not be an easy feat, given that Tonga's forwards will not dominate France outrageously as they did against Japan.

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moddeur September 22, 2011 12:07 am

(ps: landing 4 tries AND France not getting the defensive bonus)

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AK-NZ September 22, 2011 1:00 am

Yea I thought the reffing was pretty loose in this game. 2 tries from the Tongans were off forward passes, and I think both teams got away with some pretty dubious work in the breakdowns, however I think Tonga's play in general makes them deserved winners.

I think you might be being a bit cynical in your view themull. Obviously there is still going to be a gap between the top tier and the lower tiers because they simply dont receive the same amount of challenging international competition as the big boys. However, the performances of these so called 'minnows' in my opinion, have been hugely promising. Sure, there have not been any big upsets, but the majority of those games have been decided in the last 10 or 15 minutes, and apart from NZ-Japan there hasn't been the same amount of drubbings on the scoreboard that we have seen in previous tournaments. For the most part, I think it is clear to see that these nations are definitely improving.

As for New Zealand hosting the tournament, I agree with you to an extent. But, I think the tournament so far has been quite successful. New Zealand is not big, but we love our rugby, and the support around the country for all teams has been immense. I believe the game needs to be more global, but I dont think you could say that NZ is doing a bad job at the moment. Apart from the opening night transport issues, everything has been running very smoothly.

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UHtiger September 22, 2011 6:20 am

Have heard so much talk about how nz shouldnt have gotten the WC from different sources yet noone brings up the fact that the UK will host it for the 3rd time in 2015. 91, 99, 2015 plus there were a couple games from the 07 tournament held there as well.

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BuzzKillington September 22, 2011 9:53 am

I don't think anyone wants the UK, apart from some UK fans obviously, to host it either.

The difference between the 2 is that England has only been given the role in 2015 to RECOVER the losses and failure that the IRB anticipate with the NZ WC.

So hosting in NZ isn't a waste of one WCs, it's actually a waste of 2 as it's put the IRB in a position where they have to host in England to cover their own arses.

If England got this world cup you'd have heard many complaints I'm sure

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AK-NZ September 23, 2011 6:47 am

Where'd you get that info BuzzKillington? Did the IRB actually state that?

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BuzzKillington September 23, 2011 8:24 pm

Do the IRB have to state something for it to be true or reasonable? Any number of things can be deemed invalid because x person or organisation of authority hasn't openly stated it to be true, if you want to go down that line of silly reasoning.

Everybody and their dogs know that NZ got the WC because of politics, as the decision to host with NZ doesn't make a damn bit of sense. And everyone and their dog knows that England got 2015 to recover the losses and failure of 2011.

So far, we're on course for that to be true. Despite the minnows punching above their weight, the 2011 WC has been largely a failure. Passing most people by and barely ranking a mention in the Northern Hemisphere.

But carry on with your xenophobic nationalism if it helps you sleep better, deluding yourself into thinking NZ having the world cup isn't hurting the development of the game.

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AK-NZ September 25, 2011 11:13 am

Jesus mate, relax. It was actually just a simple question, I wasn't trying to get a rise out of you, was just curious to know if that was the IRB's official stance.

Im as much for the development as rugby globally as the next fan, I never said I didn't want to see the cup ever played elsewhere in the world, so I don't quite see why you're having a go at me.

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themull September 22, 2011 1:59 pm

I wasn't actually trying to insinuate that NZ hosting the WC will be a failure or that they'll be bad it..Far from it..I just think that giving it to a developing rugby nation, which has the infrastructure to hold it would have been a better option..Even though I'd much rather have it this side of the globe so I wouldn't have to get up in the middle of the night to watch the games lol..

And to uhtiger, my feelings about UK hosting it are exactly the same as NZ hosting it..

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