The Pacific Islanders faced Japan, Samoa and Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup before playing back-to-back matches against Canada, who failed to qualify for the World Cup.
The ʻIkale Tahi faced world number one Ireland in their Pool B opener and were soundly beaten 59-16 by Andy Farrell’s charges, that fixture coming an entire month after their final warm-up game against Canada.
Tonga assistant coach Dale MacLeod believes they were not sufficiently prepared for the World Cup because his side did not face tier-one opposition.
Ahead of their second World Cup fixture against Scotland, MacLeod was asked if they needed a match against one of the Rugby Championship or Six Nations sides as a warm-up game.
“One hundred per cent,” MacLeod said. “I think we are the only team who didn’t play a tier one nation or come early and play a game.
“We tried to organise one, but then they couldn’t do it. I suppose we got two games against Canada – you have to do what you have to do.
“It didn’t set us up for where we needed to be, but when you go into a World Cup and you’ve had a month off, that is tough for anyone.
He added: “We’ll be better next week, and the week after, we’ll probably be hitting [our stride] by our last game, which is not quite right.”