25 July 2015: Ikale Tahi have claimed their first victory in the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup series, and their first victory over Canada since 1999, defeating Canada 28 – 18 a Swanguard Stadium in Burnaby BC.
After a shaky start, which saw Aaron Carpenter crashing over the line for the first of his two tries for Canada in less than two minutes, Tonga looked to be uncertain initially.
However, the tide turned midway through the first half, with Canadian Liam Underwood yellow carded for a violation at the ruck, which saw Tonga battle back, with Tane Takalua putting the ‘Ikale Tahi on the board, and Tonga ultimately finishing the first half down 15 – 10
Kurt Morath had a solid run with the boot, and consistent pressure in the second half saw tries to Otulea Katoa and a second to Takalua, capping off a performance that would deservedly see him named Man of the Match.
Canada maintained their attack throughout the game, but even with two yellow cads to Tonga in the dying minutes – to Telusa Veainu and Sona Taumololo – Canada was unable to fight back once Tonga took the lead early in the second half.
Earlier in the week Head Coach Mana ‘Otai commented to Radio New Zealand that the team needed to minimize their basic mistakes, the team certainly appears to have taken that on board with a much more convincing display against a hardy opposition. There are still areas for improvement, but the team and the fans have a lot to take away from this game.