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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 October, 2003, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Afeaki hails 'awesome' Tonga
Tonga captain Inoke Afeaki has praised his team after their battling performance against Wales.

The Pacific Islanders pushed their opponents all the way before losing 27-20 in Canberra.

Tonga claimed the consolation of a bonus point, but Afeaki claims they won much more than that.

"It was awesome," he said of a performance that won Tonga back their pride after a lacklustre performance against Italy.

Having injured knee ligaments in the defeat to Italy, Afeaki was forced to watch the match from the sidelines.

"To come out and play really badly against Italy was really frustrating, but the boys have shown how well they can play," he added.

"It was great stuff from some of the senior boys and some of the new boys, really amazing."

Coach Jim Love was also pleased to see his team win back their pride.

However, he was less fulsome in his praise as the realisation that Tonga were not going to reach the knock-out stages hit home.

"I think that dream's gone, but right from the start this tournament's always been about credibility for Tongan rugby," Love said.

"The pressure is off the boys now and we can go into the All Black game with the confidence. We can go out and perform well against one of the best teams in the world."

"We made too many mistakes," he said of the performance against Wales.

"I believe we had the game, we just didn't take the opportunities."

Links to more Tonga stories



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