Tonga (0) 18
Tries: Junior, Havili, Lolohea Goals: Taukeiaho (3)
England (12) 20
Tries: McGillvary, Widdop, Bateman Goals: Widdop (4)
England Rugby League team will play Australia in this weekend’s World Cup Final, their first for 22 years after defeating Tonga in a Nail baiting match in Auckland at the weekend. Despite dominating the game for 70 minutes of the game and leading 20-0 with 8 minutes of the game remaining, the result went down to the last play of the game as Tonga scored 3 late tries and had a fourth ruled out for a knock on in the final seconds of the game.
With England looking stronger and stronger as the tournament grows, they opened the scoring through Jermaine McGillvary following an excellent break from man of the match Gareth Widdop who made the original break up field that gave England the field position, before charming into the line to create the over lap for McGillivary to score.
The fullback doubled England’s lead moments later, taking the ball from Elliot Whitehead to crash over, which the Video ref confirmed. Widdop converted both to give England a 12-0 half time lead.
Tonga started the second half the brightest only for winger Daniel Tupou to drop the ball with the line open, while England’s scrabbling defence managed to keep the Islanders out a few more times, before John Bateman ran an excellent line to settle English nerves to add to Gareth Widdop’s earlier penalty to make it 20-0 and give England a 3 score lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Even when Tevita Pangai Junior barged over with 7 minutes left for what everyone thought was a deserved consolation try, nobody expected what happened next!
Within the next few minutes Siliva Havili found a massive gap behind the ruck to skip over for his try and straight from the kick off Tuimola Lolohea was on hand to finish of a Jason Taumalolo break to make it 20-18 with 2 minutes left.
From here Tonga where on a role and they again marched up field straight from the kick off to threaten the English line again, however when Jermine McGillivary intercepted and raced down field all English fans thought that was it! NO, the Huddersfield Giant lost the ball in the tackle and with 10 secs on the clock Tongan Prop forward Andrew Fifita found himself handing for the line attempting to run over Elliott Whitehead. Fortunately for England, Whitehead’s tackle forced the prop to lose control of the ball and although the Fifita regathered to score what he thought was the winning try, Australian Referee Cecchin was quick to rule it out deeming Whitehead had not attempted to steal the ball, but that the Tongan Prop had lost it due to a loose carry and blew the final whistle!