Tonga prove too good for Samoa in Pacific Test clash

Tongan captain and fullback Will Hopoate

Despite a late fightback from Samoa, the Mate Ma’a Tonga side has won a quality Pacific Test clash.

The second game of a doubleheader at Campbelltown Stadium, Tonga won 38-22 in an entertaining affair.

It was a dominating first-half performance as six tries in 24 minutes proved to be the icing on the cake for Tonga.

It was Samoan prop James Gavet who scored the first try of the game but it was all Tonga after that.

First, Siliva Havili burrowed his way over from dummy half to score.

This was followed by a try to half Ata Hingano after Jason Taumalolo kept the ball alive.

Will Hopoate then showed his quick hands to assist in a try for Konrad Hurrell to make the score 16-6.

The onslaught continued, as Robert Jennings kicked ahead, regathered and scored a try of his own.

Hopoate then got himself on the scoresheet, zooming past Mason Lino to score.

The Tongan fullback was again involved, this time sending winger Daniel Tupou over.

There were injury concerns for both sides; Sam Kasiano left the field with a knee injury.

Manu Ma’u left the field for a HIA but is believed to have suffered a depressed fracture of the cheekbone.

Tonga’s momentum continued in the second half as Junior Tatola muscled his way over.

Samoa may have been out but they were not down as they dug deep to claw some points back.

Tim Lafai and Tyrone May scored back-to-back Samoan tries.

Former Tongan winger Jorge Taufua, now playing for Samoa, scored another Samoan try.

Though a late penalty goal for Tonga put to bed any chance of a comeback for Samoa.

After an impressive display, Tongan coach Kristian Woolf had a message to the governing bodies and the Kangaroos.

We are ready for you and we want to face the very best.

“There’s been a lot of talk about a game at the end of the year against Australia and that’s something we are really pushing as hard as we can to make happen,” Woolf said.

“I’ve got to give Mal Meninga a wrap.

“Every time I’ve spoken to him and the first conversation to get the ball rolling there was with Mal.

“He jumped at it straight away and it’s certainly something that he’s right behind and wants to make happen.”

Those sentiments were echoed by captain Hopoate who believes the Tongan players would relish the chance.

“I think the boys would relish the challenge,” Hopoate said.

“They are obviously the best in the world at the moment and we want to test ourselves and see how we go with the likes of your Inglis’s and the All Stars that are playing in the Origin arena.”

Despite a tough period for the Samoan side in recent times, coach Matt Parish wants to stick around.

“I’m committed to here, I look forward to these camps more than they do,” Parish said.

“They’re terrific, different, and I’m proud of where we came from in 2013 to now and where the game has come from.

“You look at the contest that was here today and the game that was in Hamilton last year in the World Cup.

“They’ve been tight, tough entertaining tussles that could’ve gone either way.”

Player of the Game:

3. Will Hopoate

2. Siliva Havili

  1. Jason Taumalolo

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