Planet Rugby

Canada get the better of Tonga

14th September 2011 05:54

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tonga v canada

Close tussle: Canada scrape home

Canada opened their World Cup account with a deserved 25-20 win over crowd favourites Tonga in Whangarei on Wednesday.

The Canucks outscored Tonga three tries to two in a cracking game, and were full value for their win after leading 10-7 at half-time.

The islanders bounced back in the second half though and looked on course for their first victory after losing to New Zealand in last Friday's opening World Cup match. Tonga centre Siale Piutau picked up his second try while Kurt Morath chipped away at the lead.

However, Canada had other ideas and stormed back in front thanks to tries from number eight Aaron Carpenter and wing Phil Mackenzie.

With just a converted try to win the match, Tonga pushed hard until the final whistle but were unable to breach Canada's rock-solid defence.

The defeat now leaves the Tongans with a mountain to climb in Pool A, after suffering back-to-back defeats in the tournament.

Despite not touching the ball during an early onslaught from the Tongans, it was Canada who moved into an early lead after first Chauncey O'Toole and then DTH Van Der Merwe cut through the red sea of defence, before lock Jebb Sinclair applied the finish.

Canada full-back James Pritchard converted and Canada were in a surprise 7-0 lead.

Tonga full-back Kurt Morath had a chance to cut the deficit to just one point, but missed two straightforward efforts for the Pacific islanders - with frustrating errors a common theme in their play.

Tonga had the territory and possession to drive Canada back but too often their handling let them down. And Canada made them pay as Pritchard extended their lead to 10-0 after 26 minutes.

Tonga were finally rewarded on the stroke of half-time as centre Siale Piutau was released in space on the right and scythed through two defenders to score. Morath added the conversion to cut Canada's lead to 10-7 at the break.

The game burst into life in the second half as the teams swapped penalties and then Piutau ran onto a short pass and accelerated through Canada's defence on 53 minutes.

Canada were on the ropes but they hit back when substitute centre Conor Trainor muscled forward and number eight Carpenter capitalised by barrelling through a sea of bodies for a try on 67 minutes.

Pritchard missed the conversion, leaving them two points short, but left wing MacKenzie crossed for the match-winner as the Maple Leafs regained the decisive lead 25-20 with just six minutes to go.

Man of the match: Tough one. For Tonga, a brace from Siale Piutau wasn't enough to see his side through. And for Canada, Ander Monro and Phil Mackenzie shone in the backs while Aaron Carpenter stood out in the forwards. But not as tall as flank Adam Kleeberger who got through a mountain of work for his team in a tireless performance.

Moment of the match: Another hard one. But it has to be Phil Mackenzie's match-winner.

Villain of the match: No malice to report.

The scorers:

For Tonga:
Tries: Piutau 2
Cons: Morath 2
Pens: Morath 2

For Canada:
Tries: Sinclair, Carpenter, Mackenzie
Cons: Pritchard 2
Pens: Pritchard 2

Tonga: 15 Kurt Morath, 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Alipate Fatafehi, 11 William Helu, 10 Taniela Moa, 9 Thomas Palu, 8 Samiu Vahafolau, 7 Sione Vaiomounga, 6 Finau Maka (c), 5 Tukulua Lokotui, 4 Sione Timani, 3 Kisi Pulu, 2 Ephraim Taukafa, 1 Alisona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Aloisio Ma'asi, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Viliami Ma'afu, 20 Sione Kalamafoni, 21 Viliame Iongi, 22 Alaska Taufa.

Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Ciaran Hearn, 13 DTH Van Der Merwe, 12 Ryan Smith, 11 Phil Mackenzie, 10 Ander Monro, 9 Ed Fairhurst, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Chauncey O'Toole, 6 Adam Kleeberger, 5 Jamie Cudmore, 4 Jebb Sinclair, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Pat Riordan (capt), 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Hamilton, 17 Scott Franklin, 18 Tyler Hotson, 19 Nanyak Dala, 20 Conor Trainor, 21 Sean White, 22 Nathan Hirayama.

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