Tonga have qualified for the 2023 Rugby World Cup following an emphatic 44 – 22 victory over Hong Kong.
The South Pacific Powerhouse took it to Hong Kong in the match played on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Tongan captain Sonatane Takalua scored a hat trick of tries to put his side firmly in the ascendancy.
Looking back to the last World Cup in 2007 the Tongans were fan favourites as many of the French supported them as their second team.
A dominant @officialTongaRU display earns them a place at the Rugby World Cup! 👏@HongKongRugby provided a late charge with two quality tries, but their Rugby World Cup hopes now rest in the repechage competition 🏉#RWC2023 pic.twitter.com/VD0s4KynBl
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) July 23, 2022
Like in 2007 they are once again joined in the pool stages by World Champions South Africa in a particularly tough pool that also includes Six Nations heavyweight Ireland and Scotland.
Whilst they certainly face an uphill battle, they have been known to surprise a few tier one nations over the years including nearly knocking over the Boks in the 2007 tournament.
Perhaps their most likely chance of victory will come in the final pool fixture as they take on Romania.
In saying that, there is no doubt the big three of the pool will know just how dangerous the Tongans can be and will be cautious of their notorious physicality.
Throw into the mix the truly world class talent of players such as former All Black Charles Piutau, former Wallaby Israel Folau and Takalua and suddenly you’ve got a very potent attacking threat.