Gutsy Tongans score moral victory

Fri, 09 Sep 2011 00:00
Large 2501 5566 5834 5987 2620312
Tongan captain Finau Maka praised a gutsy and disciplined second-half performance from his teammates in the opening game of the World Cup which helped secure their best-ever result against the All Blacks.

Tongan captain Finau Maka praised a gutsy and disciplined second-half performance from his teammates in the opening game of the World Cup which helped secure their best-ever result against the All Blacks.
 
The Sea Eagles restricted the hosts to 41-10, their closest game in four encounters with the All Blacks dating back to 1999, and even managed to score a hard-earned try after 15 minutes camped on the opposition tryline.

Tonga's average result against the pre-tournament favourites had been a 74-point deficit, but Maka's men frustrated New Zealand in the second half with the highly impressive replacement prop Alisona Taumalolo barging over after a long spell of pressure.

"The boys came out firing in the second half. We knew that the All Blacks were going to come back like they did in the first half," said the captain.

"I'm just really proud that the boys came back in the second half and even scored a try against a team like the All Blacks. The last time Tonga played the All Blacks (in  Brisbane in 2003) the All Blacks scored 99 points so I'm just really proud our boys scored a try."

Coach Isitolo Maka, an ex-All Black who is also the captain's brother, lamented a nervy start by his team as the All Blacks ran in four dazzling tries in an exhibition display before the break.

"I'm happy the score is only 41 points but the way we played in the first half, I'm disappointed. We trained well all week and a few mistakes, missed tackles and you see the score. The second half was a lot better," he said.

"I believe tonight a few of our new players were a bit short as they showed in the first half. I just hope those guys will front up next Wednesday," the coach added.

The World Cup's opening has provided a boost for the impoverished Pacific kingdom, with thousands of members of the Tongan community giving an ecstatic welcome to their team in Auckland this week.

And Jonah Lomu, the All Blacks legend of Tongan descent, played a starring role in Friday's opening ceremony just minutes before kick-off.

"The support from the Tongan community is huge - we take our hats off to them and all Tongans around the world," said the coach.

However, All Blacks coach Graham Henry was less than impressed with Tonga's grinding forward play, which subdued large parts of the Eden Park crowd on the World Cup's opening night.

"I don't think anyone enjoyed it - it was a very boring part of the game," Henry said. "I think everybody watching would have agreed with that. The less repeats we have of that, the better."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 May 2016
Hurricanes v Highlanders 07h35 Wellington
Waratahs v Chiefs 09h40 Sydney
Boland v Eagles 13h00 Wellington
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas 13h00 Bloemfontein
Kings v Jaguares 17h00 Ascoli Piceno
Border v Falcons 17h00 East London
Sat, 28 May 2016
Blues v Crusaders 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Sunwolves 09h40 Canberra
Western Province v Griquas 10h15 Newlands
Blue Bulls v Leopards 12h15 Loftus Versfeld
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h00 DHL Newlands
Namibia v Griffons 13h00 Windhoek
Golden Lions v EP Kings 13h00 Johannesburg
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 London
Bulls v Lions 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Leinster v Connacht 16h30 Edinburgh
Sun, 29 May 2016
Rebels v Force 06h05 Melbourne
England v Wales 14h00 London
WORLD CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 17
Wales 4 3 0 1 13
England 4 2 0 2 11
Fiji 4 1 0 3 5
Uruguay 4 0 0 4 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa 4 3 0 1 16
Scotland 4 3 0 1 14
Japan 4 3 0 1 12
Samoa 4 1 0 3 6
United States 4 0 0 4 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 19
Argentina 4 3 0 1 15
Georgia 4 2 0 2 8
Tonga 4 1 0 3 6
Namibia 4 0 0 4 1
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 18
France 4 3 0 1 14
Italy 4 2 0 2 10
Romania 4 1 0 3 4
Canada 4 0 0 4 2
RELATED ARTICLES