World Rugby reports that The Africans competed well for the first 40 minutes and only trailed 18-11 at the break after a try from number eight Christo van der Merwe and two penalties from the boot of fly-half Reinold Benade.
But Tonga turned on the style in the second half to score six tries, two of them by number eight Sione Vailanu, as they racked up 27 points without reply.
Captain Bill Fukofuka and coach Lueli Lafoe both felt “very happy about the result and for the boys, as this was a great game”, pointing towards a period of “20 minutes with lows and highs” and “some mistakes” as things they would like to improve on in the deciding Pool B match against Canada.
One of the highlights of the game for players and fans was a combined huddle between the two sides post match, reaffirming the brotherhood bonds that rugby forges and showing great mutual respect between the two teams.
Heading in to game three Tonga faces stiff competition from the other unbeaten pool B side of Canada. Rugby Canada has invested significantly in their player development and their results point to Tonga being in for a competitive deciding match this week.
Photo Credit: Luis Cabelo/World Rugby