Ikale Tahi Tonga

Samoa seal Rugby World Cup qualification over Tonga

The Manu led by 20 points early in the second half but withstood a determined 'Ikale Tahi comeback to prevail 79-28 on aggregate over two legs, following last weekend's 42-13 victory in Auckland.

With their place in France now confirmed, how is coach Seilala Mapusua feeling?

"The first word that comes to mind is relieved, a little bit of satisfaction and a hint of excitement," he said post match.

Tonga have it all to do in second Samoa clash

Manu Samoa won the first leg 42-13 in Auckland last weekend, with the aggregate winner from the two games sealing their spot in France in 2023.

Tonga only trailed by three points at half-time and prop Ben Tameifuna said they need to sustain their performance over 80 minutes.

"There was some bloody good things that happened last week and it was just towards the end there the boys folded a little bit but this week's just being able to do what we did but for much longer."

'Ikale Tahi to face England in November

The fourth test match between the two nations will be held at Twickenham on 21 November and marks the first time they have faced each other outside of a Rugby World Cup.

The 'Ikale Tahi were beaten 35-3 by Eddie Jones' men in their opening match of the 2019 World Cup in Sapporo, while England also prevailed at the 1999 and 2007 tournaments.

Tonga Rugby Union interim chief executive and vice president Fe'ao Vunipola also happens to be the father of current England internationals Mako and Billy Vunipola.

Tongans send Piutau off in style with win over USA

Piutau, who was celebrating his 34th birthday in his 43rd and final test at his third World Cup, scored a try and kicked the last conversion at Hanazono Rugby Stadium as the Tongans finished off their tournament in style.

Tongan prop Siegfried Fisi'ihoi opened the scoring and centre Malietoa Hingano crossed to give the Pacific islanders the lead around the hour mark, with fullback Telusa Veainu adding the fourth try after the final gong.

Laid-back Kefu credited for Tonga’s rapid improvement

The Pacific Islanders have lost to England, Argentina and France at Rugby World Cup 2019 and need to beat the United States in Hanazono on Sunday to avoid finishing bottom of Pool C.

Coach Kefu, pictured above, a World Cup winner with Australia in 1999, had stated that a pass mark would be coming third and, with it, guaranteeing a place at RWC 2023 in France, but Alatini, one of his assistants in Japan, has still been mightily impressed.

Tonga v England match to pay respect to Pohiva

Mr Pohiva, who died last Thursday in Auckland, was President of the Tonga Rugby Union at the time of his passing.

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper offered his condolences to the 'Ikale Tahi team during Tonga's official welcome ceremony in Sapporo on Thursday, just hours after Mr Pohiva's state funeral was held in Nuku'alofa.

"Clearly he will be very sadly missed...there will be a moment's silence before your game on Sunday against England and both myself and the President of World Rugby (Sir Bill Beaumont) will be present to pay our respects."

All Blacks run riot over Tonga in 14-try victory

Playing with freedom against hopelessly outclassed opposition, the world champions flexed their attacking muscles ominously on Saturday, notching their biggest winning margin over any team in more than a decade.

Winger George Bridge bagged four tries while fullback Ben Smith and inside centre Ryan Crotty crossed twice each in what was a glorified training run before leaving for the global tournament in Japan.

Tonga hoping to 'shock' All Blacks

The 'Ikale Tahi have never beaten the world champions in five attempts, with an average losing margin of 65-7.

The Kingdom have only managed one win in four tests this year but coach Toutai Kefu is refusing to wave the white flag.

"I still believe that we're a chance of playing well and getting close. People are talking and I hear (us being written off but) the All Blacks are the number one team in the world so we're under no illusions about that but we've still got a chance, regardless of how small that is, so the message has always been to believe."

'Ikale Tahi bolter 'a player of the future'

Christchurch-based hooker Siua Maile has been selected at the expense of veteran Elvis Taione, despite no previous involvement with the national team.

The former flanker was named in the Canterbury wider training group earlier this year and Kefu admitted his selection was more about the future than the upcoming tournament in Japan.

Fiji to unleash Radradra against Tonga

Coach John McKee's starting XV to face Tonga at Eden Park on Saturday is likely to be close to that which runs out against the Wallabies in their pool opener at Sapporo three weeks later.

The team is dominated by European-based professionals and most of them were involved in last November's historic 21-14 upset of France in Paris.

That includes Bordeaux-based outside centre Radradra, who has made slick transition to the 15-man code.