Wales

Wales to face Tonga in Eden Park double-header

Dubbed the 'Pasifika Challenge' due to its showcasing of Pacific Island rugby, the action in Auckland begins with Wales versus Tonga at 17:30 (local time), followed by the All Blacks' British and Irish Lions warm-up match against Samoa at 20:00. 

All Blacks eye Samoa in Lions warm-up

A deal hasn't yet been agreed but the Weekend Herald understands there is growing confidence among all parties that on Friday, June 16, the All Blacks will play Samoa in Auckland - with Tonga versus Wales as the curtain raiser.

The All Blacks are keen to play a meaningful contest before the first test against the Lions on June 24. They are conscious the Lions will have had six tough tour games before that first test, while the All Blacks will have had two weeks of training, but no opportunity to play.

Wales await word on bite claim

Match citing commissioner John Montgomery has until Tuesday morning (NZ Time) to decide if any incident should be reported and a disciplinary hearing convened.

North complained to referee Wayne Barnes that he had been bitten in the 12th minute of added time in last Sunday's test, which took 100 minutes to complete.

He pointed to a bite mark on his arm, but after a lengthy delay Barnes decided the video replays were inconclusive.

France sink Wales after chaotic end

The clock showed 99 minutes and 55 seconds when replacement flanker Chouly dotted the ball down after nine penalty scrums, and Camille Lopez slotted over the conversion as France saved their place in the second pot ahead of the 2019 World Cup draw.

Wales had victory in their sights when Leigh Halfpenny's sixth penalty gave them a 18-13 lead but France won a five-metre penalty scrum with one minute left.

Wales end Ireland's Six Nations hopes

North had been warned about his form by defence coach Shaun Edwards in the build-up to the game and responded by demonstrating his quality and power as Wales scored three unanswered tries in a hard-worked win.

RNZ reports Wales led 8-6 at half time.

Jamie Roberts clinched the game with Wales' third try in the 78th minute.

Ireland's New Zealand coach Joe Schmidt said his side paid a high price for a yellow card handed to first five Johnny Sexton which saw Wales score 10 points in six minutes either side of half-time.

World Cup worries for Wales

The next Rugby World Cup is two-and-a-half years away but it is suddenly looming large for the Welsh after a run of eight losses in its last 13 internationals, two of which have come in the Six Nations against England and Scotland.

Wales has slumped to No 7 in the World Rugby rankings and could plunge to ninth place with losses to Ireland in Cardiff on Friday (Saturday NZ time) and in France on the final weekend. That would mean going into the draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in May out of the top-eight seeds and facing the prospect of playing two top rivals in the pool stage.

Tonga still hopeful of playing at home

The Wales Rugby Union had expressed concerns about the availability of medical cover in Tonga, in case of a serious injury, and about the readiness of Teufaiva National Stadium, which is being redeveloped for the 2019 Pacific Games.

The 'Ikale Tahi have not played on home soil since a 2009 defeat against Fiji and head coach Toutai Kefu said they were desperate to change that.

"We kind of knew a while back that it was heading down that track, where that Welsh test was not going to be in Tonga," he said.

Prospect of Wales playing Ikale Tahi in Nuku'alofa not looking good

The Tongan government insists it can still get Teufaiva Stadium ready on time, and have the pitch in playing condition.

The General Secretary of the TRU, Filokalafi Akau'ola said he is not optimistic about Wales signing off on the game when they make their final inspection in just a few weeks’ time.

Tonga’s Hosting Wales in June is Still Uncertain

Wales Rugby Union CEO Martyn Phillipes confirms with Planet Rugby saying Tonga’s Teufaiva Park is nowhere near what you would need to host a game, although Tonga is committing to get to that. 

Meanwhile the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Siaosi Sovaleni told Radio and Television Tonga’s Sports News they’ve tendered the construction but the few companies who have submitted their bids, lack the professionalism to carry out the work.

He says, they are giving bidding parties a chance this week to complete the requirements.

WRU chief Phillips admits 'uncertainty' over Tonga tour venue

Wales are due to play two matches in the Pacific Islands, against Tonga and Samoa in June.

"There are still some things to iron out with Tonga, mainly that there isn't a pitch at the moment," he said.

"The stadium infrastructure is not in place so we are meeting with World Rugby again," Phillips added.

The game against the Samoans is scheduled for 24 June in the country's capital city Apia with relatively few qualms about that fixture.