Takulua double sees Tonga home

Date published: July 25 2015

Tonga picked up their first win of the Pacific Nations Cup as they came from behind to beat Canada 28-18 in Vancouver.

Two tries from Aaron Carpenter helped the Canadians race into a 15-3 lead, but Tonga fought back with Sonatane Takulua crossing twice and Otulea Katoa also scoring to seal the win.

It was Canada who burst out of the blocks, as hooker Carpenter went over after just three minutes, crashing over after a pick-and-go. Scrum-half Gordon McRorie converted, and added a penalty to make it 10-0 to the hosts.

Kurt Morath's penalty got Tonga back to within a score, but Carpenter was soon over again, popping up in support of fly-half Liam Underwood.

Canada then lost their playmaker to a yellow card in the closing stages of the half, and they were made to pay when Takulua went over for his first try.

Trailing 15-10 at the break, Tonga quickly ran in a second try, with Katoa the beneficiary of a powerful rolling maul, with Morath converting from the touchline to put his team in front for the first time.

He added two more penalties, either side of one from McRorie, as Tonga stretched out to a 23-18 advantage over their hosts.

Takulua then added his second try, after good work from Steve Mafi to set him up, and despite yellow cards to Telusa Veainu and Alisona Taumalolo late on, they were able to see out the win.

Tonga will now face the USA but even a win will likely not be enough to top their pool and make the final, while Canada will try to avoid a winless campaign against Samoa.

The scorers:

For Canada:
Carpenter 2
Con: McRorie
Pens: McRorie 2
Yellow Card: Underwood

For Tonga:
Takulua 2, Katoa
Cons: Morath 2
Pens: Morath 3
Yellow Cards: Veainu, Taumalolo

Canada: 15 Matt Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Connor Braid, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Liam Underwood, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 John Moonlight, 6 Richard Thorpe, 5 Jon Phelan, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Andrew Tiedemann, 2  Aaron Carpenter, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Benoit Piffero, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Doug Wooldridge, 19 Callum Morrison, 20 Kyle Gilmour, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Nathan Hirayama, 23 Phil Mackenzie.

Tonga: 15 Vungakoto Lilo, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Sione Piukala, 12 Viliami Tahitua, 11 Fetu‘u Vainikolo, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Viliami Ma‘afu, 7 Nili Latu, 6 Hale T Pole, 5 Joe Tuineau, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Tevita Mailau
Replacements: 16 Sosefo Sakalia, 17 Alisona Taumalolo, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Uili Kolo‘ofa‘i, 20 Viliami Fihaki, 21 Sosefo Ma‘ake, 22 Latiume Fosita, 23 Otulea Katoa.

Venue: Swangard Stadium, Vancouver
Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)