Tonga relying on All Blacks upset

12:39 pm on 8 October 2015

It's official - Tonga need to either beat the All Blacks or draw with a bonus point to qualify directly for the 2019 World Cup.

Georgia recovered from a 6-0 deficit to beat Nambia 17-16 in Exeter this morning to leapfrog the 'Ikale Tahi in the Pool C standings, with the top three in each group earning direct qualification to the 2019 event in Japan.

Namibia scored their only try five minutes from full-time to give themselves and Tongan fans brief hope for an upset, but the Georgians held on for the win.

The Tongan team huddle together following their Rugby World Cup defeat to Argentina.

The Tongan team huddle together following their Rugby World Cup defeat to Argentina. Photo: AFP

A win against the All Blacks would lift Tonga back into third place, earning them direct qualification in 2019.

There is even a mathematical hope of finishing second if Mana Otai's team win with a bonus point and Argentina pick up nothing against Namibia.

Tonga would draw level with Georgia on eight points if they score four tries and lose within seven points but would still miss out because they lost when the teams clashed in the opening round.

It's been a disappointing tournament all round for the Pacific neighbours nations, which means at least one is at risk of failing to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

Fiji finished fourth in cut-throat Pool A, after losses to England, Australia and Wales.

Wales captain Sam Warburton challenges Fiji wing Metuisela Talebula during their World Cup pool clash at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Wales captain Sam Warburton challenges Fiji wing Metuisela Talebula during their World Cup pool clash at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photo: AFP

Meanwhile Samoa are fourth in Pool B and need to beat Scotland with a bonus point and hope Japan get nothing against the United States to finish third.

Japan centre Male Sau holds off Samoa's centre Paul Perez during their Rugby World Cup pool match.

Japan centre Male Sau holds off Samoa's centre Paul Perez during their Rugby World Cup pool match. Photo: AFP

If the Pacific countries fail to qualify automatically, they will have to go through a repecharge tournament, with no guarantee there will be space for all three.

Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham says it's proof the gap is closing in the international game.

"It's a pity that Pacific Islanders have fallen back but in looking at it I think the rest of the world have caught up and rugby is almost equal across the board and you let your guard down and you'll pay the price".

Fiji are the top-ranked Pacific country at tenth in the world.

Tonga climbed one spot to 12th this week, while Samoa's defeat to Japan saw them plumment four places to 15th.