Sun, Feb 11, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Tonga beat South Korea to reach World Cup finals


Sione Fonua, left, of Tonga is tackled by Kwoon Woo-young of South Korea during their IRB Rugby World Cup 2007 qualifier match in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.


Tonga booked a spot in the 2007 Rugby World Cup finals when they thrashed Korea 85-3 in a repechage match in New Zealand yesterday.

The Pacific island nation ran in 13 tries, including three by right wing Vaea Poteki, while flyhalf Fangatapu Apikotoa dotted down twice to go with his 10 conversions for an impressive match tally of 30 points.

Tonga -- who join England, South Africa, the USA and Samoa in Pool A at the World Cup in France -- scored right from the start when left wing Sione Fonua waltzed past weak tackles to score in the corner.

It was the first of six first-half tries, with Tonga leading 38-0 at the turn.

They added a further seven tries in the second spell, while Korea's sole points came from a penalty goal by flyhalf Hong Jun-ki.

Tonga's Super 14 loose forwards Hale T. Pole and captain Nili Latu were dominant figures in the game.

Assistant coach Ellis Meachen said he was confident Tonga could progress through pool play despite being the last qualifiers.

He expected England and South Africa to be softened up by physical games against Samoa, and said his side would take a similar approach.

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