PNC- Tonga down Fiji
Tonga has ended on a massive high by well and truly bringing the Flying Fijians to ground with a thrilling 27-16 win. The match had it all and was fit for a King and that is exactly what it got as King Taufa’ahau Tupou V of Tonga graced the match and the people of his Kingdom performed.
Early on the intentions were made very clear, hard and fast was the recipe today and both teams sunk everything into an entertaining & heart-stopping match. Fiji started with a wealth of possession and will be kicking themselves for not scoring a try or 2 in the first 15 mins. Tonga hung on with all it’s steel and soon found themselves in the Fiji 22 metres. When they got a chance to rumble they did and the powerhouse forwards came back to halfway with a try to captain Nili Latu.
Fiji did play their running game and continued to punch holes in the centres, this flair caused the crowd to go wild and even more noise came out when a robust Tongan ended the movement with a great tackle. The home side seemed to get more bulletproof as the game went on and the chance to impress on home soil kept them charging.
In the end the Tongan’s simple were too strong, the pack was a bunch of bulldozers and laid the platform for a special win. Epeli Taione seemed about 12 feet tall as he carved up metres in the last 20; he even chimed in with a try late in the game to add salt to Fiji’s pride.
Scenes were of dancing and hugging as the crowd joined their Tongan heroes after the win, the players handed out Test jerseys to random supporters and today was a victory for Tongan spirit and pride in front of their people. The win will make the season feel better and next year they will be sure to impress more.
Tonga: 1. Semisi Telefoni 2. Ephraim Taukafa 3. Kisi Pulu 4. Milton Ngauamo 5. Paino Hehea 6. Hale T Pole 7. Nili Latu (Captain) 8. Samiu Vahafolau 9. Enele Taufa 10. Pierre Hola 11. Sukanaivalu Hufanga 12. Epeli Taione 13. Hudson Tonga'uiha 14. Samisoni Pone 15. Vungakoto Lilo.
Replacements: 16. Viliami Ma'asi 17. Tonga Lea'aetoa 18. Joshua Afu 19. Viliami Vaki 20. Soane Havea 21. Fangatapu 'Apikotoa 22. Seti Kiole.
Fiji: 1. Graham Dewes 2. Sunia Koto 3. Jone Taginayayusa 4. Joveci Domolailai 5. Kele Leawere (Captain) 6. Deryck Thomas 7. Aca Ratuvca 8. Netani Talei 9. Aporosa Vata Tunisau 10. Waisea Luveniyali 11. Vereniki Goneva 12. Saula Radidid 13. Sireli Nagelevuki 14. Jerry Tuilevu 15. Taniela Maravunwasawasa.
Replacements: 16 Vereniki Racagi 17. Viliame Seuseu 18 Rupeni Nasiga 19. Sailosi Rabonaqica 20. Nemia Kenatale Ranuku 21. Jonetani Ralulu 22. Iliesa Keresoni.