Meanwhile in preparation, for the game against Ireland, Tonga have had two outings. They played New Zealand Maori at North Harbour a week ago and lost that game 12-47. Then, on Saturday last they played a New Zealand Divisional XV, in a game played at McLean Park that ended in a 10-10 draw. The Tonga No 8 Benhur Kivalu was driven over by his pack for their only try.The difference in the two sides looked to be the experience and strength of the Tonga forwards, who led for most of the game having gone 10 nil up before half-time.
However, the Divisional XV upped their performance in the second half, with a converted try scored by captain Mutu Ngarimu levelling the scores with five minutes remaining. Eddie Hekenui had earlier kicked a penalty.
Tonga mounted several quality drives but struggled for any coherent backline play. Even the most basic moves often broke down before they could get to the flanks. There were few opportunities for Sydney-based winger Taniela Tulia, who looked the most dangerous attacker on the field.