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photo: World Rugby

Tonga bash Canada aside at Pacific Challenge

Canada’s woes continued on Wednesday as the ‘A’ side fell to a 31-15 defeat against Tonga ‘A’ at the Americas Pacific Challenge in Montevideo. The power of the Pacific Islanders in the contact area was a decisive factor with Canada conceding numerous turnovers at the breakdown.

The opening quarter saw the two teams competing on level terms. Samiu Muna had a shot to open the scoring but scuffed his kick badly and instead it was Robbie Povey who struck first. The Canadian flyhalf knocked over a penalty to give Canada a lead but a brief one.

Tonga’s heavyweight forwards started to wear on their Canadian counterparts and after Topui Sekona came just inches short the captain Sione Lolohea was on hand to pick and drive over the line. Muna’s conversion attempt was another shocker but his team had the lead.

With the momentum now theirs the next 15 minutes were painful for the Canadians. Bruising centre Paki Afu steamrolled over two second rows to score a disheartening try. Next it was the screaming wheels of fullback Sione Ika that did damage, using pace and a step to rip around the outside and put Fetuli Paea into the corner.

In no time the Tongans were back in Canadian territory and this time Ika would get one himself, popping up to take a short ball in under the sticks for the bonus point try. James Faiva’s conversion made it 24-3 at the break.

With another big score threatening Canada found some resolve in the second half. Cole Keith came in at tighthead prop and made an immediate impact, winning a penalty in his first scrum. The two sides wrestled for possession for 20 minutes before another score would come to Tonga.

It was Afu again who made it 31 unanswered points, but this time it was against the run of play. An ill-advised kick ahead while on attack landed in Tongan hands and after Paea made inroads the ball went to Afu who strolled in for the double.

Kuli Tonga was sent to the bin shortly after coming on as a replacement for a head-high challenge on Rob Brouwer. Canada took advantage immediately from the lineout with Kyle Gilmour driven over for his team’s first try. One more would come to Patrick Parfrey on a switch to the inside against an exhausted Tongan defense.

There was no time to mount a comeback, however, and Canada are now staring at another winless Pacific Challenge unless they can find a win against their rivals USA on Sunday. Tonga will also play a derby match when they face Samoa in the third and final round of the competition.



Tries – S. Lolohea (21’), P. Afu 2 (27’, 61’), F. Paea (36’), S. Ika (38’)
Cons – S. Muna 2/3 (28’, 62’), J. Faiva 1/2 (39’)
Pens – S. Muna 0/1
Yellow cards – K. Tonga (69’)

Tries – K. Gilmour (70’), P. Parfrey (75’)
Cons – R. Povey 1/2 (76’)
Pens – R. Povey 1/1 (14’)



1 Loiola Vea 2 Sione Lolohea (capt.), 3 Makasine Lutua, 4 Vainanuma Manu, 5 Katilimoni Tu’ipulotu, 6 Atunaisa Faka’osi, 7 Taniela Na’a, 8 Topui Sekona, 9 Samiu Muna, 10 James Faiva, 11 Fetuli Paea, 12 Paki Afu, 13 Fe’ofa’aki Kaumavae, 14 Johnny Loseli, 15 Sione Ika

Replacements: 16 Leiataua Kilifi, 17 Solomone Kioa, 18 Misinale Taukalo, 19 Puniani Malafu, 20 Kuli Tonga, 21 Paula Folau, 22 Heamatangi Tu’ivai, 23 Posiana Kamoto

1 Rob Brouwer, 2 Eric Howard, 3 Ryan Kotlewski, 4 Conor Keys, 5 Liam Chisholm, 6 Kyle Gilmour (capt.), 7 Peter Milazzo, 8 Travis Larsen, 9 Jorden Sandover-Best, 10 Robbie Povey, 11 Kainoa Lloyd, 12 Guiseppe du Toit, 13 Conor Desmond, 14 Karsten Leitner, 15 Mitch Richardson

Replacements: 16 Ray Barkwill, 17 Liam Murray 18 Cole Keith, 19 Adrian Wadden, 20 Dustin Dobravsky, 21 Andrew Ferguson, 22 Patrick Parfrey, 23 Mike Nieuwenhuysen



Referee: Joaquin Montes (URU)


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Formally created in June 2015, this website’s goal is to increase media exposure of the Tier 2 rugby nations, and create a hub with a focus on the stories of rugby in the Americas – North, Central and South.

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