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Tonga thump Canada despite red card for former All Black

By Ian Cameron
Munster's center Antoine Frisch (L) celebrates with Munster's center Malakai Fekitoa (R) after they won the United Rugby Championship final match between the Stormers and Munster at the Cape Town stadium in Cape Town on May 27, 2023. (Photo by Rodger Bosch / AFP) (Photo by RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)

A 14-man Tonga side secured a 28-3 rugby victory over Canada, despite losing George Moala to a red card for a dangerous tackle at the Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku’alofa.


Tonga’s 15th-ranked team – who are preparing for the Rugby World Cup in France – outplayed the 23rd-ranked Canada, who were returning to action after a 43-37 loss to Namibia in November that ended their hopes of making the tournament.

Benefiting from new eligibility rules, Toutai Kefu’s Tonga entered the game well-stocked with the likes of Moala and Malakai Fekitoa lining up for the Ikali Tahi.

Canada played decently in the first half but failed to convert their opportunities into points, trailing 21-3 at halftime, their set piece – in particular – struggling.

They were thrown a lifeline when former All Black George Moala’s dangerous tackle led to Tonga being reduced to 14 players in the second half, but the home side continued to dominate.

By the final whistle Tonga’s Sione Vailanu had scored a brace of tries, while Sam Moli and Sonatane Takulua each added one, with the latter converting all four conversions.

Canada managed just one penalty through the boot of former Ulsterman Peter Nelson.

Tonga: 15 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 14 Kyren Taumoefolau, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 George Moala, 11 Fine Inisi, 10 Patrick Pellegrini, 9 Tane Takulua (captain), 8 Sione Vailanu, 7 Sione Havili, 6 Solomone Funaki, 5 Tanginoa Halaifonua, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 David Lolohea, 2 Sam Moli, 1 Tau Koloamatangi.


Replacements: 16 Paula Ngauamo, 17 Fe’ao Fotu’aika, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Vaea Fitita, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Johnny Ika, 22 Otumaka Mausia, 23 Solomone Kata.

Canada: 15 Peter Nelson, 14 Kainoa Lloyd, 13 Ben LeSage, 12 Spencer Jones, 11 Isaac Olson, 10 Robbie Povey, 9 Ross Braude, 8 Siaki Vikilani, 7 Lucas Rumball, 6 Mason Flesch, 5 Conor Keys, 4 Izzak Kelly, 3 Conor Young, 2 Andrew Quattrin, 1 Liam Murray.

Replacements: 16 Foster Dewitt, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Cole Keith, 19 Piers Von Dadelszen, 20 Siôn Parry, 21 Travis Larsen, 22 Jason Higgins, 23 Mitch Richardson.



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GrandDisse 314 days ago

""Canada, who were returning to action after a 43-37 loss to Namibia in November that ended their hopes of making the tournament."

Quite sure this match wasn't part of the qualification process.

Troy 314 days ago

Nice win with obviously not their 1st XV. Will give their pool a good shakeup.

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