Tonga has defeated the Cook Islands 22-16 in a very good game that has big implications for the World Cup quarter finals.
Tonga was supposed to put a big score on the Cook Islands. For most of the first half however the Cook Islands were giving Tonga all sorts of problems.
Isaac John was sensational in the first half.
A long field effort after the first few minutes saw Tonga take the early lead. The Cook Islands hit back with two tries of their own early in the first half though and were giving Tonga all they could handle for most of the first half.
It wasn’t until around the 30th minute when Tonga started to show a bit of dominance. They went into the break with an 18-10 lead, but they were really made to work for it by the Cook Islands.
The Cook Islands needed to get off to a good start in the second half and that’s just what they did. A sensational try in the corner brought them back into the match. The conversion made the score line 18-16 I’m Tonga’s favour, and it was game on again.
From that moment on the game turned into an arm wrestle. The Cook Islands really took the contest to Tonga. Both teams had their chances with penalties playing a big part, and it wasn’t until the 62nd minute until Tonga could cross the line with a try I’m the corner. While it was not converted, it gave them a 22-16 lead and some welcome breathing space.
A huge turning point came in the game in the 68th minute when the Cook Islands found a huge overlap out wide. With the line wide open and no one near him the Cook Islands player bombed an easy try when he simply lost control of the ball with no one near him!
Both teams looked nervous over the next 10 minutes. Dropped ball, penalties, a missed kick at touch for the Cook Islands, the game became frantic.
Tonga missed a field goal attempt late, and the Cook Islands had the video referee step in and deny them a try that they hadn’t actually gone close to scoring anyway. From there it was all but over and Tonga went on to claim the 22-16 victory and keep their quarter final hopes alive.
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