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.
Centre Siale Piutau of Tonga celebrates with the fans following his team’s 19-14 victory during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between France and Tonga at Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
The beauty of the World Cup is not confined to events on the pitch. The tournament is still three weeks away, but there might not be a more incongruously glorious scene than the Tongan national rugby team, replete in national dress, engaging in a sing-off against the Cranleigh choral society.
Tongans love a sing-song. By all accounts, they brought the house down and, for the past couple of weeks, they have been leaving their Pacific stamp on this picturesque corner of the Surrey countryside training with Cranleigh School first XV and worshipping at the local baptist church. Across the country, towns and villages will also play host to Georgians, Romanians and Canadians and will hopefully witness the same cultural exchanges.
Telusa Veainu of Tonga runs in a try against the US during their World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup match in Toronto, Canada in July. AFP PHOTO/Getty Images
Fiji celebrates 39-29 win against Manu Samoa in PNC final in British Columbia. Photo: World Rugby
Fiji sent out a Rugby World Cup warning to their Pool A rivals England, Australia, Wales and Uruguay after a ruthless display of finishing saw them claim the Pacific Nations Cup 2015 title at the expense of rivals Samoa.
Fiji defeated Samoa 39-29 in a thrilling final at the Swangard Stadium in Burnaby to claim their second Pacific Nations Cup crown and head into RWC 2015 full of confidence
Second-rower Leone Nakawara grabbed two of his side’s five tries with the others coming from influential scrum-half Niko Matawalu, Kini Murimurivalu and Akapusi Qera in a see-saw contest that saw Fiji race into a 17-3 lead before being reeled back in by Samoa. But just as the physical Samoans appeared to have taken control of the contest, Fiji came storming back with three quickfire tries that saw them reclaim the initiative and pull clear.
Manu Samoa launch another attack against Canada at the BMO Field in Toronto. Photo: World Rugby
Samoa and Fiji will meet again in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup 2015 final after both maintained their unbeaten records with tight victories over hosts Canada and Japan in Toronto on Wednesday.
The Samoans needed a try on the stroke of full-time by Sakaria Taulafo to snatch a 21-20 victory over Canada, the replacement prop catching a loose ball off a ricochet from a lineout to dive over and secure the final place.
Fiji, who had played out a thrilling 30-30 draw with Samoa in round two, had to hang on for a 27-22 victory against Japan, finishing the match with only 13 players as the Brave Blossoms came within inches of completing their comeback with another try.