Tongan coach Mana Otai believes the Ikale Tahi have it in them to beat the Kiwis. Photo: Planet Rugby
Tonga head coach Mana Otai still firmly believes his men can shock New Zealand when the two sides play tomorrow morning (Friday evening UK time).
The only win for Otai’s side so far has come against Namibia, but they did shock France four years ago and Otai believes that win shows what Tonga are capable of.
Tonga’s hopes of moving to the knock out stage of the competition was snuffed out by Argentina. Photo: Planet Rugby
All three Pacific island teams look set to make an early exit from the 2015 Rugby World Cup after mediocre performances for the first three weeks of the competition.
Fiji after being crowned the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup champions in August lost all of their first three matches against England, Australia and Wales before winning their last match against Uruguay.
Pumas fly-half Nicolas Sanchez scored 25 poins with a try and eight successful kicks against Tonga. Photo: World Rugby
Football legend Diego Maradona joins Argentina’s dressing-room celebrations following crucial Pool C win
Argentina have all but achieved their first goal at Rugby World Cup 2015, with victory over Tonga giving them a foothold in the quarter-finals.
Their next target has been set by none other than football legend Diego Maradona.
Tonga’s early loss to Georgia set the tone for a disappointing opening phase to the Rugby World Cup by Pacific Islands teams.
The biggest disappointment from the opening phases of the Rugby World Cup has been the lack of impact from the Pacific Island teams.
A relieved Tonga are crowing about seeing off Namibia 35-21 in the latest island effort.
That’s mainly because it is an improvement on their first-round loss to Georgia.
Tongan prop Halani Aulika calls for Ikale Tahi to play running game. Photo: Planet Rugby
Tonga prop Halani Aulika said there would be a paradigm shift when his team play against Namibia in a Pool C fixture at Sandy Park tomorrow morning.
Aulika, who was on the field for 64 minutes during that surprising defeat against Georgia in their opening World Cup match, said the onus would now be on Tonga to take the initiative.
The direct approach adopted against Georgia simply did not work under the circumstances.
Part one of a series by Daniel Schofield of The Telegraph puts rugby under the microscope before the World Cup focuses on a shameful and harrowing tale of exploitation
France’s winger Noa Nakaitaci scores a try during the rugby union test match between France and Scotland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis last month. Photo: AFP
Fiji, who take on England in the opening World Cup match on Sept 18, have a long and proud tradition of producing the fastest fliers on the planet. Indeed, they are fast becoming a must-have accessory for every nation.
Other than Fiji, New Zealand (Waisake Naholo), Australia (Henry Speight) and France (Noa Nakaitaci) will field wings born on the Pacific Island in the World Cup. England might call up Semesa Rokoduguni if injury strikes, while Scotland tried to recruit Taqele Naiyaravoro for the next tournament, but lost out to Australia.
Samoa doing the siva tau in an international against Fiji. Photo: Zoomfiji
All three Pacific island teams have been world beaters in their own right in the past seven competitions but will the islanders break new ground in meeting up in the knock out stages in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Fiji will have to win Pool A to meet Samoa, as the second team from Pool B if they are to cross swords or vice versa, Samoa topping Pool B and Fiji making the second team from Pool A to advance to the quarterfinals.