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Tonga will get its mojo again after qualifying for Rugby International Cup with win over Hong Kong

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“Reduction” was once the phrase heard over and over within the Tongan camp once they beat Hong Kong 44-22 at Sunshine Coast Stadium at Kawana Waters on Saturday.

The win intended Tonga had secured its position on the 2023 Rugby International Cup in France. The Tongans will sign up for Eire, Scotland, South Africa and Romania in Pool B subsequent 12 months.

“I am very emotional within. I am making an attempt to not display my feelings however it is a giant aid to get the win,” Tonga captain Sonatane Takulua stated after the fit.

When the full-time siren sounded, a sea of crimson erupted and tears flowed simply.

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Even for the Tongan supporters — who’ve a name for being ‘additional’ — it was once on some other stage as it was once no longer in regards to the International Cup qualification: it was once about feeling like winners once more.

A fan embraces captain Sonatane Takulua (proper) after Tonga’s assertive win over Hong Kong.(ABC Information: Ali Almond)

Tonga misplaced all 3 of its earlier suits in the Pacific Countries Cup, with its trio of celebrity recruits proving to be fizzers.

Israel Folau is sidelined for months with a hamstring harm after enjoying handiest half-hour in Fiji.

Malakai Fekitoa went again to his Irish membership with a calf worry and Charles Piutau handiest dedicated to 2 Pacific Countries suits, one being Tonga’s surprising 30-0 loss to Fiji.

It had begun to really feel like a curse at the ‘Ikale Tahi.

However all of that was once reminiscence because the curtains closed on an entertaining conflict with Hong Kong on Saturday night time.

A Tongan male rugby union player leads his team in the Sipi Tau.
Takulua was once an inspiration as he led Tonga through instance.(Getty Pictures/International Rugby: Peter Wallis)

Tonga made an competitive get started — in all probability too competitive — with two tries disallowed within the opening 10 mins following a knock-on and an obstruction play.

Nevertheless it didn’t take lengthy for Takulua to position one at the board that caught, sniping on the ruck for the primary take a look at of the fit.

Hong Kong spoke back right away and scored its first take a look at thru some slick passing that noticed hooker Alex Put up cross over for a five-pointer within the nook.

Takulua persevered to steer from the entrance, temporarily scoring his 2d take a look at in similar type to the primary.

It appeared like the group was once in for an actual recreation of rugby. 

Tonga tightens its grip

There was once slightly of drama later within the first part following an exhilarating dash from Hong Kong fullback Nate De Thierry that noticed play transfer into the Tongan 22.

Within the making sure passage of play, Tonga hooker Siua Maile illegally attempted to gradual the ball down on the ruck and was once proven a yellow card, leaving his aspect with 14 avid gamers for 10 mins.

A woman in sunglasses holds a Tongan flag in the stands of a stadium.
Tongan flags had been observed throughout Sunshine Coast Stadium.(ABC Information: Ali Almond)

Gregor McNeish kicked a penalty function, last the distance at the scoreboard to simply 9 issues.

Regardless of this, Hong Kong were given caught in a defensive trend of play and didn’t take any merit out of Tonga being a participant down. Hong Kong didn’t rating once more within the first part.

At this level, the Tongans had been feeling so assured they started making inventive choices, comparable to 150-kilogram prop Ben Tameifuna throwing in at a line-out, which raised a couple of eyebrows.

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