1 Oct 2011

Tonga upsets France but goes out

10:47 pm on 1 October 2011

Tonga produced the upset of the Rugby World Cup when they beat France 19-14 on Saturday.

Despite the win Tonga won't make the quarter finals as they failed to secure a bonus point after some poor decision making cost them at least five tries.

Tonga first five eighth Kurth Morath slotted four penalties and converted Sukanaivalu Hufanga's try for the Pacific Islanders, who had needed to win and score four tries to give them a chance of qualifying for the quarter finals.

The halftime score was 13-6 to Tonga.

"Towards the end, probably the last eight minutes, we knew we couldn't score three tries and I thought it was important for us to win the game first," Tonga coach Isitolo Maka told reporters of his team's strategy of not trying to get a bonus point.

"That's why we decided to kick goals and not go for tries. The thing for us was to make sure we won the game."

Winger Vincent Clerc scored an injury-time try for France to give them the bonus point that ensured they reached the quarter finals as half-back Dimitri Yachvili slotted three penalties for France, who were outplayed in the second half.

"Congratulations to Tonga team but we are disappointed with what we did today. They played with heart but today we... I can't say anything about what we did today. Too many mistakes," France captain Thierry Dusautoir said in a pitchside interview.

"If we play like this next week, we don't have any chance of making the semi-finals. We must take lessons from this."

New Zealand top Pool A on 15 points with one match to play on Sunday, while France will finish second on 11 points after completing their four fixtures and face the winners of Pool B in the quarter finals.

Tonga ended their campaign on 9 points.


Tonga Try: Sukanaivalu Hufanga; Conversion: Kurt Morath; Penalties: Morath (4).

France Try: Vincent Clerc. Penalties: Dimitri Yachvili (3).

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia).