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Tonga upset Australia A in Nuku'alofa

By AAP
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 23: Bernard Foley of the Wallabies runs through drills during an Australia Wallabies Captain's Run at Eden Park on September 23, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The Wallabies’ depth ahead of the Rugby World Cup has been called into serious question, with an Australia A side beaten 27-21 by Tonga in Nuku’alofa.

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The hosts skipped to a 24-0 halftime lead on the back of four unanswered tries, before the disjointed Australian side steadied in the second and found three straight tries of their own on Friday.

Former Wallabies regulars Bernand Foley and James O’Connor were both unconvincing in the midfield battle as they looked to play themselves back into Eddie Jones’ World Cup plans, the latter improving in the second half as his side finally got going.

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Mammoth prop Taniela Tupou got through the first half unscathed in his return from a ruptured Achilles, having travelled with the Wallabies to South Africa last week but not featuring in the side’s heavy Rugby Championship loss to the Springboks.

Tupou will likely be eyeing off the Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand at the MCG on July 29 for his Wallabies return.

It was something of a warning shot from Tonga ahead of the World Cup in France, looking dynamic with the ball in their first-half blitz spearheaded by fullback Charles Piutau.

The Australians looked flimsy in defence, with a number of handling errors deep in Tongan territory and kicks out on the full leading to them being pushed aside early.

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Speedster Corey Toole got Australia on the board early after the break and they continued finding success out wide with tries for Lachie Anderson and Josh Flook.

Reserve halfback Issak Fines-Leleiwasa impressed after coming off the bench and changed the game with his energy, with hooker Lachie Lonergan and back-rower Harry Wilson also strong.

Tonga – coached by Wallabies legend Toutai Kefu – have got a particularly tough World Cup draw, taking on Ireland (ranked world No.1), South Africa (fourth), Scotland (fifth) and Romania (19th).

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Comments

2 Comments
J
Jon 365 days ago

Upset? haha I don't think these journos know whats coming?

M
Michael 365 days ago

Good display from Tonga, testing systems and sharpening up for bigger tests. Looking forward to seeing what they can do moving forward.

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