Tonga has completed a 35-21 Rugby World Cup Pool C victory over Namibia in Exeter on Tuesday. The Tongans ran in five tries to register their first win of the tournament after going down to Georgia in their first fixture while the Namibians remain winless after losing to New Zealand in their opening outing. The Pacific Islanders started the match looking to attack and Telusa Veainu was awarded the try early in the first half after a great bit of work to get through the gap, turn on the after burners and force his way over the line in the seventh minute and the conversion was good too.
Five minutes later Jack Ram was over for the second of the day to hand the south sea side an early 12-0 lead. The men in red continued to attack but a line out maul did not work and the southern Africans held firm in midfield before a knock-on saw the ball find it’s way to to Tjuee Uanivi and his pass found Johan Tromp who ran in for the try and Theuns Kotze mades no mistake with the conversion. Good build up play from Ikale Tahi from a line out saw Latiume Fosita collecting a poor pass off his toes and stumble through the gap in the Welwitschias defence and over the line in the 25th minute.
Jacques Burger was found guilty of being in front of the kicker in the 33rd minute giving away a penalty that Vunga Lilo knocked over. The Pacific players went to half-time leading 22-7. Jack Lam scored the bonus point try in the 44th minute after a brilliant bit of counter attack play by Mana Otai’s team. Lilo made a hash of his conversion effort and four minutes later, Burger scored a beautiful try and Kotze slotted the conversion.
Veainu scored another try in the 56th minute following a brilliant performance from the winger and although Lilo missed the conversion Otai’s charges still held an 18-point lead. Burger scored a second try for Phil Davies’ men in the 66th minute from a rolling maul and Kotze’s sundries reduced the deficit to 32-21. Kurt Morath booted over a 72nd minute penalty to take Tonga to 35 points and ensure a first win at this World Cup while Davies and his lot continue a search for a first-even victory at the tournament.
Photo credit: Colin Watson