Tonga rugby

Tonga leave with heads held high

The Ikale Tahi swept into a 21-3 lead after winger Solomone Kata collected an offload from Salesi Piutau for the opening try, ex-All Blacks centre George Moala went over and winger Afusipa Taumoepeau added a third after Alin Conache’s penalty for Romania.

But the Oaks came back with two tries before the interval from flanker Cristi Boboc and scrum-half Florin Surugiu, the second with Tonga a man down after second-row Halaleva Fifita’s yellow card.

Tonga’s Sione Talitui is 2023 RWC’s current top tackler

Flanker Talitui has made 60 tackles and is ahead of Chile's Martin Sigren by eight tackles.

Statistics from World Rugby show there is no player from Ireland, South Africa, France and New Zealand in the top 10 tacklers so far at the world event.

Australia's Tom Hooper is currently at number four with 48 tackles to his name.


‘We are the only team’ – Tonga rue poor Rugby World Cup preparation

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.

Top class Tonga waiting patiently for Ireland clash

World Rugby's 2021 eligibility rule change means the squad features World Cup winner Malakai Fekitoa and other former All Blacks Charles Piutau, Vaea Fifita, George Moala and Augustine Pulu, as well as former Wallabies lock Adam Coleman.

They finally get their chance to test themselves against the best in the world when they take on top ranked Ireland in a Pool B clash in Nantes this weekend, when they hope to show some genuine class of their own.

RWC23: Kefu says doing their best is their focus against Ireland

Toutai Kefu is not moving too far ahead of the big challenge the 'Ikale Tahi have, but said they would focus on their games one at a time.

"There's a big responsibility on me to build the energy and have that flow, have it peak at the right time.

"I think Tongan fans demand a whole-hearted performance and a performance they can be proud of and that's certainly aligned with us," he told media in Croissy-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris.

Tonga’s side is array of talent

Siua Maile, Sitiveni Mafi, Tanginoa Halaifonua and Samiuela Louisi do do not step back from the challenge in tight plays and will be key for the side in set pieces.

Crusaders' Sione Havili, Moana Pasifika captain Solomone Funaki, Vaea Fifita and Sione Vailanu are key ball winners in the breakdowns and good carriers of the ball.

Good understanding between them has seen them improve and they will be the key in winning possession off the ground and in tackle-ball situations.

Veteran captain Sonatane Takulua does not back down from any challenge.

Tonga's George Moala has his appeal dismissed

It was August 15 when the 32-year-old former All Blacks player was originally suspended by an independent disciplinary committee chaired by Stephen Hardy (Australia) and joined by former player Stefan Terblanche (South Africa) and former international referee Valeriu Toma (Romania).

They decided that the red card Moala was given for his August 10 tip tackle versus Canada warranted a 10-match mid-range entry point.

14-man Tonga return to winning ways against hapless Canada in Nuku’alofa

It was a much improved performance from the home side – who finished winless and at the bottom of the table during the recent Pacific Nations Cup – as they dominated for long periods and eventually outscored their opponents by four tries to none.

Hard running number eight Sione Vailanu led the way with a brace of five-pointers for the Ikale Tahi while Sam Moli (hooker) and Sonatane Takulua (captain and scrum-half) also crossed the whitewash.

Takulua also succeeded with four conversions which meant he finished with a 13-point haul.

Flying Fijians hit Tonga with three early tries and outlast spirited comeback

A superb debut from Caleb Muntz set his spectacular outsides away for some classic Flying Fiji rugby en route to keeping their win streak alive against Tonga. It was fast and physical from the outset, the ball touching each team’s 22 in the opening minute with hard running and a typically free-flowing attack.

It was Fiji who made the first few breaks of the game and looked more disciplined in the early stages. Josua Tuisova won the collision battle in his first two hit-ups against his opposite number, former All Black Malakai Fekitoa.

Piutau, Fekitoa to start and Folau not named for Flying Fijians clash

Former All Blacks reps Charles Salesi Piutau and Malakai Fekitoa are in the starting line-up.

Axed Wallaby Israel Folau who featured prominently in the match against Australia A last week has not been included in the match-day 23.

Tonga has named only one debutant for this match with Patrick Pellegrini set to earn his first cap off the bench.

Ikale Tahi is riding high with confidence after it’s jaw-dropping performance against Australia A and will be looking to mirror this against the Flying Fijians.