Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Tonga got their Pacific Nations Cup campaign off to a strong start on Saturday with a 45-21 upset win over hosts Fiji in Lautoka It was their first win in the competition in three years.
Yesterday you saw highlights of Samoa's win over Japan , but many would have expected this particular game, the tournament opener, to be a fair tighter affair. Instead it was Tonga that impressed with their strong defensive effort, and blistering speed out wide.
They scored five tries to two as the dangerous Fijian backs were prevented from cutting loose, while Tongan flyhalf Kurt Morath took his personal tally to 20 points with some good goal kicking, slotting four conversions and four penalties.
Fiji scored a brilliant try of their own though, a length of the field effort that was finished off by lock Sekonaia Kalou, who somehow managed to get up there in support. Tongan Viliame Iongi punished the Fijians shortly after though as they camped on the Tongan tryline, but coughed up turnover ball. The speedster gassed all before him, sealing the win for the visitors.
Tongan coach Isitolo Maka remained grounded however, even if it was their first win in the tournament since 2008.
"I don't think the score reflected the tightness of the game. There were a couple of lucky tries which made the score look bigger than it should have. We won't kid ourselves, we have plenty of work to do," he said.
The next round of games take place this coming weekend, with Tonga facing Japan, while Fiji host Samoa. Both games will take place in Suva, Fiji.
Samoa get off to a good start in the Pacific Nations Cup