Tonga win 'another step' towards World Cup dream

11:58 am on 1 October 2015

Bouncing back to win against Namibia was important after Tonga's first-up loss, says the team's coach Mana Otai.

The side ran in five tries to beat Namibia 35-21 in Exeter and grab their first win of the Rugby World Cup.

Jack Ram scores one of his two tries in Tonga's Rugby World Cup win over Namibia.

Jack Ram scores one of his two tries in Tonga's Rugby World Cup win over Namibia. Photo: AFP

Telusa Veainu and Jack Ram were both promoted to the starting line-up because of injuries and made the most of their opportunities, scoring two tries apiece, while Latiume Fosita also dotted down.

The winning margin could have been more, but fullback Vunga Lilo struggled with the kicking duties, landing just three of seven attempts, before Kurt Morath came off the bench to slot a late penalty that made him Tonga's all-time highest points scorer.

Tonga rugby coach Mana Otai.

Tonga rugby coach Mana Otai. Photo: AFP

Mana Otai said it was important after their first-up loss to Georgia for his team to bounce back.

"And not just the victory but also to get the five points. It was one of our three goals that we set out to do winning-wise, outcome-wise, was to win and [get] maximum points. There was another one we didn't quite achieve but nonetheless we will take the first two".

With two matches remaining Tonga is second in Pool C on six points, three behind the All Blacks and one clear of their next opponents, Argentina, who they face on Monday.

"After Georgia we kept saying the dream is still alive," said Mana Otai.

"I guess today gaining five points was another step forward towards that. Obviously there's two more games to go ... so [we have to wait] until the weekend to find out more of the other outcomes, but we could easily go into Argentina with an advantage points-wise.

"From there on in it's important how we strategise for Argentina and of course the All Blacks."

The 'Ikale Tahi do have injury concerns as they prepare to travel to Loughborough tomorrow before their clash with the Pumas.

Winger Fetu'u Vainikolo was a last minute withdrawal against Namibia because of a tight hamstring.

Hale T Pole is tackled during Tonga's Rugby World Cup win over Namibia, before limping off with a suspected ankle injury.

Hale T Pole is tackled during Tonga's Rugby World Cup win over Namibia, before limping off with a suspected ankle injury. Photo: AFP

Flanker Sione Kalamafoni was substituted early in the match as a precaution, while Hale T-Pole was assisted from the field with a suspected ankle injury early in the second half.

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