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Tonga v Ireland as it happened


Tonga 22-20 Ireland

Text 81111 (with "RUGBYL" as the first word) or use 606 (Not all contributions can be used)

By Pranav Soneji

0951: Blimey, what a cracking game - gutted for Ireland, especially for hat-trick boy Damien Blanch. I don't think I have ever seen a team concede so many penalties for indiscipline as Tonga did tonight. Wonder what the Samoans thought of that... Thanks for your company, catch you on here again soon.


80 mins: Ireland earn head and feed at the scrum, but Michael Platt thumps the ball downfield with the seconds ticking down as Tonga gather the ball inside their own half. And that's it for Ireland as Steve Ganson blows up for full time. The Tongans look absolutely exhausted, but delighted.

79 mins: Another testing Mateo kick is gathered on the full by Pat Richards inside his own tryline, handing Ireland possession on the 20m line. But the Wigan winger fumbles a pass and the ball is knocked forwards, he looks utterly aghast.

78 mins: Damien Blanch makes a break from inside his own half, but he cannot get his pass away to Sean Gleeson on his outside shoulder. That could well be Ireland's last try-scoring opportunity.

76 mins: Karl Fitzpatrick cannot cling on to Ryan Tandy's wild pass as Ireland push for a score just 10m from Tonga's line. The Wests Tigers prop holds his head in his hands as he realises his passing error could hand Tonga victory.

73 mins: TRY: TONGA 22-20 IRELAND
A wonderful, floated missed pass from Michael Jennings allows Esikeli Tonga to slide over from five metres out for what could be the decisive try of this thoroughly entertaining match. Mateo is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt.

72 mins: Feleti Mateo boots a 40/10 kick, which rolls away from the chasing Michael Platt. The Tongans pump fists with the stand-off, this could be the opportunity to retake the lead.

69 mins: It's all a bit static in the middle of the park a both teams toil in the humidity in Sydney. More poor hands from Tonga hands Ireland head and feed near the half-way line.

67 mins: TRY: TONGA 18-20 IRELAND
Replacement Laim Finn sends through a delicate chip to the right corner for Damien Blanch to touch down for his third try. The Wakefield winger scores the second hat-trick of the tournament after Lee Smith's triple against Papua New Guinea. Pat Richards pus Ireland in front with a brilliant conversion.

64 mins: Michael Jennings reckons he was taken out chasing a Mateo - back on the pitch after a spell in the bin - chip, but referee Ganson crosses his arms and shouts "play on". Things get worse for Jennings, who spills a regulation high ball catch to hand Ireland head and feed on the 10m line.

61 mins: Tough call on Michael Jennings, who latches on to a loose ball from an offload which looked to have gone backwards to cross the Ireland tryline for the second time. But video referee Paul Simpkins isn't convinced and judges a restart for Ireland on their 20m line. The Tongan supporters cannot believe it, quite frankly I can't see why that score should should not have stood.

59 mins: TRY: TONGA 18-14 IRELAND
Superb break from Wakefield hooker Tevita Leo-Latu feeds Epalahame Lauaki, whose swift burst gives Etuate Uasisele the opportunity to sell Michael Platt a dummy before touching down for a brilliant try. Replacement Tony Williams adds the extras.

57 mins: There are some serious big hits being dished out by the Tongans, although Ireland are doing their darndest to give some back. Rivetting.

53 mins: Karl Fitzpatrick misjudges a restart and takes the ball out of bounds, forcing Ireland to drop out under their posts. However, Stuart Littler takes Cooper Vuna out of touch on the first tackle to hand Ireland head and feed at the scrum. Top work from the men in green.

51 mins: TRY: TONGA 12-14 IRELAND
Lovely work from Sean Gleeson, who shrugs off two tacklers and offloads to Wakefield team-mate Damien Blanch for the winger's second try of the evening. Pat Richards is way wide with the conversion attempt.

yello card
Just moments after an outrageous kick and pass, Mateo is sin-binned for talking back to referee Steve Ganson. And the resulting penalty sees Tonga concede another, this time for a high tackle. Ireland are within sniffing distance of the tryline.

47 mins: Genius from Feleti Mateo - he chases his own chip, which looks as if it is about to go long but he somehow manages to pop a pass behind him to keep the ball alive, but rather than find a team-mate, the ball lands in Irish hands. Close call.

46 mins: The evergreen Mick Cassidy is penalised for delaying a Tonga play-the-ball and the men in red and white march into Irish territory.

43 mins: Michael Platt flirts with danger again with another kick inside his in-goal area, but just about manages to avert danger, although he is forced to ground the ball and concede a goalline drop-out.

42 mins: Lovely left-footed high kick from Karl Fitzpatrick is latched on to by Pat Richards, but the Wigan winger knocks on just as he attempts to ground the ball. More frustration for coach Andy Kelly.

41 mins: Another high Tonga tackle, this time from Etuate Uasisele on Gareth Haggarty, sees Ireland camp inside Tonga's 30m line.


Two points
Referee Ganson awards Tonga a penalty for interference in the ruck five metres from the Ireland line. Mateo points to the sticks as Joel Taufa'ao adds the two points to give the Pacific Islanders the lead at the break as the half-time hooter sounds. Top game this, not exactly going how many expected.

36 mins: TRY: TONGA 10-10 IRELAND
Joel Taufa'ao kicks to the corner of the Ireland in-goal area from the fifth tackle, but Michael Platt dithers as he attempts to cover the kick, allowing the onrushing Cooper Vuna the opportunity to get his fingertips on the ball for the try. Ganson calls in video referee Paul Simpkins, who confirms the try is good. Poor concentration from the Bradford number one. However, the scores remain level as Taufa'ao misses the conversion.

34 mins: Brilliant break from Ireland sees Pat Richards sprint towards the half-way line. The resulting play-the-ball sees Ireland to within 10 metres of the Tonga tryline, but Shaun Gleeson's pass is flung behind Damien Blanch with the tryline begging.

31 mins: TRY: TONGA 6-10 IRELAND
Superb offload from Gareth Haggarty lands into the breadbasket of Karl Fitzpatrick, who feeds Michael Platt with what looks like a forward pass as the Bradford full-back touches down, despite an excellent last-ditch tackle from Uaisele. However, the try counts as the video referee cannot call on forward passes. Super League's top point scorer Pat Richards adds the extras.

29 mins: More indiscipline from Tonga, this time through Feleti Mateo, who knocks on in the tackle. The captain is furious with Steve Ganson as he felt he had been impeded, but backchat sees the referee advance twice down the field.

26 mins TRY: Tonga 6-4 Ireland
Tonga spill possession inside their own half and Ireland pounce on the ball. And the men in green are over in the right corner when Scott Grix sends out a miss pass to club team-mate Damien Blanch to slide over. But Pat Richards misses the tough conversion attempt from the right side.

yello card
Steve Ganson has had enough after Tonga concede their seventh penalty of the match, once again for interference at the play-the-ball. But once again Ireland squander possession, this time with a forward pass on the first tackle. Coach Andy Kelly will be seething.

22 mins: Steve Ganson calls for video referee Paul Simpkins as Michael Platt once again spills a Mateo high kick under his posts, but Etuate Uaisele fumbles the ball as he attempts the ground the ball over the line. Lots of bodies all over the place, but the right call from Simpkins.

21 mins: Nice dancing feet from Bob Beswick inside the 10m line, but his team-mates are not on the same wavelength as the Widnes hooker as his grubber kick is shepherded out to touch with no chasers in sight.

19 mins: Poor handling from both sides - Ireland lose the ball on the first tackle, but Tonga cannot capitalise as Cooper Vuna spills a pass on the right wing.

16 mins: Tonga concede a penalty when Joel Taufa'ao goes high on Fitzpatrick's head. Referee Ganson has a word with the Sydney Rooster, something along the lines of "none of that son". But Ireland mess up their advantage by squandering possession with a knock-on on the third tackle.

15 mins: Lovely break from Karl Fitzpatrick, who feeds Eamon O'Carroll for a burst to the sticks, but the Wigan man is held up five metres from the Tonga tryline. However, good pressure from Ireland forces a drop-out under Tonga's posts.

13 mins: Damien Blanch is once again nailed by a perfect Tonga clearance kick inside his own tryline, the Tonga chase was fast and large. Pat Richards once again clears from under the posts.

10 mins TRY: Tonga 6-0 Ireland
Genius from Michael Jennings. The Penrith centre skips one way and darts the other and launches himself over the tryline for a tremendous first score. This after Lopini Paea had been held up just before the Ireland line. The conversion is successful.

8 mins: Brilliant break from Michael Jennings sees the Penrith man scythe through the Tonga defence, but centre Etuate Uaisele cannot cling on to the offload.

5 mins: Michael Platt makes a hash of a Mateo high ball, but team-mate Damien Blanch cleans up but has to concede a drop-out from under his posts. And Pat Richards clears his lines with an almighty drop-kick, which Tonga collect on their own 10m line. Incredible.

3 mins: Poor early touch from Simon Grix, who throws a wayward pass into touch with his side in 20m from the Tonga line.

2 mins: Ireland advance deep into Tongan territory, courtesy of two penalties for interference at the play-the-ball. Interesting to see how that particular area is governed as British referee Steve Ganson tends to be stricter than his southern hemisphere counterparts - it's an area that has caused plenty of debate in Aussieland and on British and Irish shores.

1 min: Feleti Mateo launches the ball deep into Ireland territory as Michael Platt gets his first touch of the ball and the Bradford man gets nailed by three Tongan tacklers.

0753: The Tongans launch in a rousing rendition of their haka, lots of scary faces from some very large units. Referee Steve Ganson is the man resplendent in pink. And we're off.

0752: Lots of empty seats at the Parramatta Stadium, although plenty of red and white can be seen from the Tongans in the crowd. But you can always rely on the Irish for a sizeable contingent anywhere in the world.

0749: For those who haven't read Phil Harlow's excellent piece on Ireland, definitely worth a read here:

0740: Not long until kick-off in Parramatta as the Irish team look to upset the odds with a Pool C victory over a very decent Tonga side.


Ireland: M Platt (Bradford); D Blanch (Wakefield), S Gleeson (Wakefield), S Littler (Salford), P Richards (Wigan); S Grix (Wakefield, capt), K Fitzpatrick (Salford); E O'Carroll (Wigan), B Beswick (Widnes), R Tandy (Wests Tigers), B Harrison (Warrington), L Doran (Leigh), S Finnigan (Bradford).

Subs: M McIlorum (Wigan), L Finn (Dewsbury), G Haggerty (Harlequins), M Cassidy (Barrow).

Tonga: F Talanoa (South Sydney); C Vuna (Newcastle), M Jennings (Penrith), E Uasisele (Parramatta), E Tonga (Gold Coast); F Mateo (Parramatta), J Taufa'ao (South Sydney); A Kaufusi (Melbourne), T Leo-Latu (Wakefield), A Guttenbeil (Castleford), L Paea (Sydney Roosters, capt), R Fa'aoso (Newcastle), W Manu (Hull).

Subs: M Manuokafoa (South Sydney), S Moa (Wests Tigers), E Lauaki (New Zealand Warriors), E Uaisele (Parramatta).

Rugby League World Cup : Group A Table
09 November 2008 10:42
  Team P PD PTS
1 Australia 3 112 6
2 New Zealand 3 30 4
3 England 3 -50 2
4 Papua New Guinea 3 -92 0

Rugby League World Cup : Group B Table
05 November 2008 12:59
  Team P PD PTS
1 Fiji 2 34 2
2 Scotland 2 -16 2
3 France 2 -18 2

Rugby League World Cup : Group C Table
05 November 2008 09:52
  Team P PD PTS
1 Ireland 2 16 2
2 Tonga 2 -6 2
3 Samoa 2 -10 2

see also
Kelly takes pride in Irish effort
27 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Tonga 22-20 Ireland
27 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Hard-nosed Ireland ready for battle
20 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 30-6 New Zealand
26 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Scotland 18-36 France
26 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup squads
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup 2008 fixtures
08 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup Quiz
17 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup 2008 - players to watch
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup history
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup on the BBC
06 Oct 08 |  Rugby League

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