15 Oct 2015

Tongan rugby boss blasts poor World Cup performance

1:24 pm on 15 October 2015

The head of the Tonga Rugby Union has blasted the country's World Cup performance as "awful" and "unacceptable" and said the defeat to Georgia would haunt them for years to come.

The Ikale Tahi were stunned 17-10 in their opening match of the tournament and ultimately ended up fourth in Pool C, missing the quarter finals and automatic qualification for the next World Cup.

Tonga players thank the crowd following their Rugby World Cup defeat to Argentina.

Tonga's Rugby World Cup campaign did not go to plan. Photo: AFp

President and chair of the Tonga Rugby Union, Epeli Taione, said despite a good build-up to the World Cup, the team didn't perform when it mattered.

"We didn't respect Georgia enough and it's something that will basically haunt us for a long time. We really need to have a good look at ourselves after this.

"At the end of the day we were not good enough - that's the most disappointing thing. We were good enough to make the playoffs - no shadow of a doubt about that - it's just the fact that when it matters, we didn't turn up, no excuses. We were very poor, we were absoutely outplayed on the day. Whatever happened there we will find out soon but it's just no excuse. We were very poor in the tournament."

Taione said a full independent review into Tonga's World Cup campaign would be conducted over the coming weeks.

Tonga Rugby Chair Epeli Taione at a Rugby World Cup 2015 event.

Tonga Rugby Union Chair Epeli Taione. Photo: Photosport

He said people had to be held accountable for the country's early exit and if he or team management had to fall on their swords then so be it.

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