Jason Taumalolo said this week he would not be satisfied until Tonga had defeated all of international rugby’s “big three.”
After tonight the Tongan co-captain should well and truly satisfied.
In a hard fought game that saw the action pressed right up against the try line, the Tonga Kau To’a (Tonga Invitational XIII) defeated Australia 16-12.
Tonga would have needed to defeat the Kangaroos by 22 points to secure the Oceania Cup Trophy.
However, tonight’s win will be another huge boost for Tonga’s ambition to be recognised as a team worthy of respect and regular Tier One competition.
The New Zealand Herald described the outcome of tonight’s clash as “a truly historic win” and a night for Tonga to cherish.
“They turned in a truly brilliant performance to topple the World Champions.”
The official NRL site said tonight’s Tongan victory ushered in a new era of international rugby league.
This is the first time Australia has been beaten by a Tier Two team. It was also the first time the Kangaroos have been beaten by anybody except New Zealand or the UK since succumbing to France in 1978.
Tonga kicked off the game and was soon fighting back hard against the Australian assault.
Tonight’s match was harder fought than the fight with the British Lions last week as the Kangaroos poured it on from the beginning.
With a lead behind them, Australia could have opened up a bigger lead, but failed to score in the second half.
Instead, Tonga fought back to a four point lead.
In the last minutes of the game Australia tried repeatedly to break through what has been described as Tonga’s brick wall.
Before today’s match Kangaroo’s coach Mal Meninga warned that the Tongan player’s desire to represent the kingdom made them a threat.
“They’ve got that passion, that drive and desire to put on their jerseys so I mean, that’s dangerous,” Meninga said.
Tonight Meninga’s warning was proved all too true.
Both teams ran onto the field tonight victories behind them.
While Tongans were buoyed by their win over the British Lions, the Kangaroos defeat New Zealand on Wednesday in a game Taumalolo described as “typical Australian footy, grinding out teams and putting them to the sword.”
Last year, the Kangaroos defeated Mate Ma’a Tonga 34-16 and Tonga would have been hoping for revenge.
Earlier today in the triple header sat Eden Park, Fiji beat Samoa 44-18 and the British Lions suffered their second defeat in a week, going down to New Zealand 12-8.
The main points
- Jason Taumalolo said this week he would not be satisfied until Tonga had defeated all of international rugby’s big three.
- After tonight, the Tongan co-captain he should well and truly satisfied.
For more information
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