Ireland scored a six try, 40-19 win over Tonga at at the Vela Naucukidi stadium in the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa having trailed by 11 points after 20 minutes
Ireland scored a six try, 40-19 win over Tonga at at the Vela Naucukidi stadium in the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa having trailed by 11 points after 20 minutes. John Kelly and Guy Easterby scored a pair of tries each with Jonathan Bell also getting on the scoresheet and Mark McHugh marking his senior international debut with a try.
At the end of what was a very physical game, both Paul O’Connell and Tonga captain Inoke Afeaki were yellow carded for fighting bur earlier on Tonga’s Viliami Ma’asi was sent off for stamping on the head of Eric Miller.
Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan was happy enough with the overall performance in the conditions, ” I’d have to be happy enough with the result,” he said afterwards,
“Six tries to two is a good result no matter what way you look at it. OK, it was an untidy performance at times, we didn’t start particularly well but in the conditions that was to be expected.
“We were playing into a strong wind and really needed to control the ball and we didn’t and found ourselves 11-0 down and looking like we set ourselves a very difficult task. But in fairness to the lads they buckled down, tried their hearts out in very difficult conditions. The pitch was very very hard and the heat got to us a bit, plus the Tongans were a very physical side.
“They really worked hard and got the ship back on track just before half-time which I think was important. In the second half we could have been more precise at times but at the end of the day we outscored them four tries to two.”