“The boys gave everything,” Tongan captain Sika Manu told the thousands of supporters at the Mt Smart stadium tonight.
After the match Manu said it had been “a tough game.”
But even after losing 34-16 to Australia , Mate Ma’a Tonga united Tongans everywhere, with fans from Tonga, Australia and the United States flying in to watch.
As Kaniva news reported earlier today, Princess Angelika said Mate Ma’a Tonga reinforced pride in the kingdom’s virtues.
From the opening prayer by Rev ‘Ifalame Teisi through the mass singing by Tongan fans throughout the game, the players who gave up the chance to play for Australia or New Zealand brought out the best in their supporters.
The link between fans and players was illustrated when Manu thanked the crowd for their support in Tongan.
Australia scored the first try in the early stages of the game
Tonga then won a penalty, but Australia came back strongly and Trbojevic scored another try.
Tonga’s first try came from Tevita Pangai Jnr, with Taukeiaho converting, leaving the score 12-6 in Australia’s favour.
Tongan fans exploded in joy at the Tongan try, with the Mt Smart stadium covered in a sea of red and white flags.
Tonga won more penalties, but Australia kept the pressure up.
Holmes got the ball over the line for Australia and then successfully converted his own try to make the score 18-6. He was followed by Trbojevic, who made his second try.
Hingano, who had been injured early in the game but kept playing, finally left the field. Shortly afterwards Tupou scored. Taukeiaho failed to convert and by half time the score was 24-10 with Australia in the lead.
In the second half Solomone Kata scored for Tonga, but even with the successful conversion, Tonga could not hold Australia off and when the final whistle blew, Australia had expanded its lead to 34-16.
After tonight’s game The Guardian described Tonga as “terrific in their energy and work rate,” but said they were “undone by some early ball carrying issues, some poor final play kick options and one or two forced offloads.”
However, the newspaper said that for large periods of tonight’s match Mate Ma’a had the Kangaroos “absolutely scrambling.”
The New Zealand Herald said that despite losing, Tonga had made the case for playing more international matches.
For Australia, tries were scored by Evans, Trbojevic (2), Holmes (2) and Tedesco, with five field goals from Holmes
For Mate Ma’a Tonga, tries were scored by Pangai Jnr, Tupou and Kata, with field goals from Taukeiaho and Lolohea.
The main points
- “The boys gave everything,” Tongan captain Sika Manu told the thousands of supporters at the Mt Smart stadium tonight.
- After the match Manu said it had been “a tough game.”
- But even after losing 34-16 to Australia , Mate Ma’a Tonga united Tongans everywhere, with fans from Tonga, Australia and the United States flying in to watch.
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