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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 September 2007, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
South Africa v Tonga as it happened

South Africa 30-25 Tonga

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

By Charlie Henderson

80 mins: FULL-TIME South Africa 30-25 Tonga
That was it for Tonga, but what an excellent performance and a brilliant match. South Africa will go through in first spot in the pool. England face an uphill task to follow them through and will meet this Tonga team on Friday. But first up for Brian Ashton's boys is Samoa...

"Best game so far. Unbelievable rucking from Tonga."
Leo, in Ireland, via text on 81111

79 mins: Tonga maintain possession through six phases... seven phases... eight phases... nine phases... Pierre Hola kicks for the corner but it skids into touch instead of bouncing into the arms of a red-shirted marauder. Surely that's the last throw of the dice.

78 mins: Tonga claim the re-start and pile forward. One final effort to pull off a quite extraordinary result.

77 mins: PENALTY South Africa 30-25 Tonga
A potential bonus point kick for Tonga as South Africa concede a penalty, and a bit of argy-bargy off the ball from CJ van der Linde means it will be an easier effort for Pierre Hola. The number 10 stabs it over from the left.

76 mins: That means Tonga have to score twice to win and once to get a bonus point now. Finau Maka wants the two scores judging by that charging run into opposition ranks.

75 mins: PENALTY South Africa 30-22 Tonga
This could be the killer blow as far as the Tongan comeback is concerned. They haul down a maul and concede a penalty. After two poor efforts, Percy Montgomery hits the target when it matters most.

72 mins: Francois Steyn and Joseph Vaka are back on and Tonga are back to 15. With Bryan Habana still in the bin South Africa are up to 14 men.

71 mins: TRY & CONVERSION South Africa 27-22 Tonga
This game isn't over. A quite sensational score after Pierre Hola opts for a crossfield kick in his own 22. Percy Montgomery attempts to meet it with an intercepting kick on the half volley, makes a hash of it and Tonga break. Flanker Viliami Vaki is the man who gets on the end of a kick ahead and Pierre Hola slots.

69 mins: TRY South Africa 27-15 Tonga
Pierre Hola hoists a hanging kick to the left corner where Sukanaivalu Huganga jumps high to claim and touch down in the tackle from the covering Percy Montgomery. After viewings from various angles the TMO tells Wayne Barnes he can award the try. Hola doesn't add the extra points.

68 mins: YELLOW CARD South Africa
South African golden boy Bryan Habana is sent to the bin for cynical play after playing the ball on the ground. The Boks are down to 13 against 14-man Tonga.

67 mins: The bonus point means South Africa will finish top of Pool A.

66 mins: Victor Matfield climbs high to claim the re-start and after the last few minutes don't discount a South African try from this position. The Boks have come good... but they took their time.

64 mins: TRY South Africa 27-10 Tonga
Wonderful try and that's a bonus point for the Springboks. Ruan Pienaar starts the break in his own 22, and after a jinking, jiving run by JP Pietersen to halfway, the ball is worked through numerous pairs of hands to Pienaar who dives over in the right corner. A horrible conversion attempt from Percy Montgomery... even worse than anything Andre Pretorius dished up earlier.

63 mins: TRY South Africa 22-10 Tonga
Bobby Skinstad gets the thumbs up from the TMO having held off Vungakoto Lilo and Epi Taione without going in to touch. Percy Montgomery's conversion attempt crashes off the upright.

62 mins: YELLOW CARD South Africa & Tonga Before any decision on that try is given, Wayne Barnes has to sort out a fight. It is broken up and ends with Francois Steyn and Joseph Vaka going to the bin. Vaka's complaining he was bitten and Steyn is furious when yellow is flourished.

61 mins: South Africa launch another attack from deep and they're looking the real deal now. Bryan Habana is freed on the left, puts the breaks on when confronted by a wall of red shirts and the ball is recycled right before Bobby Skinstad holds off the tackles to go over in the corner. Referee Wayne Barnes is "going upstairs" for confirmation.

59 mins: A nice introduction for Percy Montgomery that. He is winning a record 90th cap for South Africa, eclipsing Joost van der Westhuizen's previous best mark of 89 Bok appearances.

58 mins: TRY & CONVERSION South Africa 17-10 Tonga
South African ball from a Tonga lineout and the Boks break from deep. Down the left and then a bullocking run from CJ van der Linde on the right to within a metre of the line. Their best spell of the match ends with a try as Juan Smith crashes over. Percy Montgomery, the last of South Africa's replacements, is on to add the extras.

57 mins: Andre Pretorius clears South Africa's lines, but he doesn't get much distance on the kick.

55 mins: Rickie Januarie is on a dipping, darting run forward before being clobbered by Finau Maka, who must be double the scrum-half's size. The Bok nine will be seeing stars.

52 mins: PENALTY South Africa 10-10 Tonga
Tonga are caught offside and South Africa have a chance to level... and a real chance as Andre Pretorius is not building sand castles in the build up to this one. Francois Steyn is called up and makes no mistake.

51 mins: South Africa attack from deep and Bryan Habana draws a hoard of red shirts like a magnet. They don't want to give him an inch and don't.

49 mins: Bryan Habana picks up a kick in space and is arrowing forward. He is snared by a tap tackle, stumbles into contact and loses possession. More worries for South Africa. Danie Rossouw is out cold after taking a whack in a melee of bodies. The break gives John Smit a chance to rally his troops, but a deathly hush descends the Stade Felix-Bollaert as the flanker is stretchered off in a neck brace. Juan Smith is on.

47 mins: Andre Pretorius survived the cull but for how much longer before he is hooked. Penalty number five is pushed wide on the right.

46 mins: Here come the cavalry. John Smit, BJ Botha, Victor Matfield, Bryan Habana and Francois Steyn are on.

45 mins: Boks coach Jake White has had enough of this. Five subs are ready and waiting to come on.

44 mins: TRY & CONVERSION South Africa 7-10 Tonga
Tongan forwards rumble over the line and it is bedlam in Lens. The locals are loving this. The South Africans needless to say are not. Former Coventry prop Kisi Pulu is driven over in by Finau Maka and Tonga have the lead. A conversion from Pierre Hola makes it a three-point lead.

43 mins: Tongan forwards rumbling for the line.

41 mins: Tonga full-back Vungakoto Lilo picks up an Andre Pretorius kick and heads straight towards the massed ranks of green shirts with a goose step that wins a roar of approval from the crowd. They work the ball left and when it comes back into the centre Pierre Hola launches a drop goal attempt that drifts wide.

1355: Back up and running in Lens.

"Is anyone else starting to worry about Tonga v England?"
Cricketing_stargazer on 606

Never mind Tonga, England have to worry about Samoa first. That one coming up after what should be a ripping 40 minutes in Lens. You can listen to the Nantes nailbiter on BBC Radio 5live with Ian Robertson and co and we'll be flicking over to that one when this one's done.

40 mins: HALF-TIME South Africa 7-3 Tonga
Boks coach Jake White has some thinking to do. He has an absolutely awesome bench to choose from, but how long will he give the blundering XV he sent out time to prove their worth? Fine stuff from the Tongans, but will they run out of gas? All the answers coming up in the second 40.

"I would not be surprised if they bring young Steyn in for Pretorius. Although young, he has a better understanding for the game and may just be the key for unleashing the dangerous looking wings. Otherwise Pretorius is in for the tongue lashing of is life in the locker room during half time."
Caymanianblue on 606

39 mins: South Africa end the half on the front foot but a thumping tackle from Nili Latu on CJ van der Linde halts their progress within sight of the line.

38 mins: Joseph Vaka comes off his left wing and is on the gallop. With his tinted, frizzy mane in bunches he looks like a woolly mammoth on the charge. It's a great charge but he really should have released Vungakoto Lilo on his right instead of going into contact.

36 mins: A let off for South Africa now. Pierre Hola, using a bright yellow kicking tee as opposed to a crafted pile of sand, hooks a penalty attempt wide.

34 mins: Pierre Hola hammers the ball downfield and that releases the pressure for Tonga. Coming through that spell without conceding will boost their confidence.

32 mins: Try-saving tackle from Joseph Vaka. Scrum-half Rickie Januarie goes blind and releases Ashwin Willemse, but the winger coughs the ball up when hit by Vaka's covering tackle on the line.

31 mins: Going right now and a surely a try is on the cards. But Andre Pretorius holds on a touch long, his poor pass gives Wynand Olivier work to do and the centre's worse pass gives Ashwin Willemse no chance to get over despite being in space. The ball rolls into touch.

30 mins: Ball in hand South Africa look much better than ball on boot. They spin the white Gilbert down the backline and JP Pietsersen is held up five metres short in the left corner where Ruan Pienaar scored.

28 mins: A flash graphic comes up. No kicking errors from either side. Well, that's not exactly accurate it is.

27 mins: Andre Pretorius is building another sandcastle. No kicking tee for the Bok 10, who uses excess sand to line up a sort of flight path for the direction he wants to kick the ball. Maybe that's what's doing for him. That line could be off centre as he drags another penalty wide. That's nine points up the spout now. Percy Montgomery's on the bench and much more of this they may need him.

25 mins: From defence to attack in the blink of an eye. Ashwin Willemse is scooting up the right flank, but has no options in support and is crowded out on the Tongan 22.

24 mins: Nili Latu is freed through a gap and South Africa are back-pedalling. Within five metres now. Tonga go left and Pierre Hola winds up a big miss pass. Giant prop Soane Tonga'uiha is in at the corner celebrating with his arm raised... but Wayne Barnes has his arm out for a forward pass for that floated effort from Hola.

23 mins: Tonga still on the attack. This is good stuff from the men in red. Big-haired number eight Finau Maka powers off the back of a scrum and they are going forward again.

21 mins: Sustained possession in the Boks half for Tonga and Pierre Hola decides it's time to take some reward from this with a drop goal attempt. Shocking. Absolutely shocking. Hooked low - about five feet off the ground - and wide, skidding across the turf.

19 mins: Tonga come back from that setback well.

17 mins: TRY & CONVERSION South Africa 7-3 Tonga
South Africa catch Tonga napping. Ruan Pienaar takes a quick tap and go, backs himself to skin hooker Aleki Lutui - and why not, the Tongan's the size of a small outhouse - before darting over in the corner. And what do you know? The hardest kick so far and Andre Pretorius slots it from the touchline.

16 mins: Ruan Pienaar launches an attack from deep and is scragged on halfway. South Africa recycle possession until a wayward pass in midfield. Who gave the pass? You guessed it. Andre Pretorius.

14 mins: Tonga drag down the Bok maul and it's another penalty chance for Andre Pretorius... and another horrible effort hooked wide.

13 mins: Ruan Pienaar shows Andre Pretorius how to kick a ball. His deep kick takes a touch off Vungakaoto Lilo and this is a chance for the Boks to build a platform in the Tongan 22.

11 mins: In the build up to that penalty there was a first bit of aggro between the big boys up front. English referee Wayne Barnes has a few words with a couple of red-shirted Tongans emplacing the fact that he doesn't want to see them running into the melee with a pointed "Do you understand?".

10 mins: Andre Pretorius has had a shocking 10 minutes and that caps it. He horribly hooks a pop at goal wide after Nili Latu conceded a penalty. Easy points and a wasted opportunity to get on level terms.

8 mins: South Africa 0-3 Tonga
South Africa are caught offside and it is a chance for Tonga to get on the board first. The call goes out for Pierre Hola who steps up to slot the points left footed.

6 mins: It's a bad start with the boot. Andre Pretorius doesn't even find touch with a penalty.

5 mins: Is Andre Pretorius having a bad day with the boot or is he happy to keep the ball in play? Two deep kicks and neither bobble over the whitewash, allowing Tonga to race up from deep.

3 mins: Fairly even opening, South Africa having a bit of an edge in territory.

1 min: Not the best of starts for the Tongans as they lose the first lineout of the day on their throw. They'll need all the ball they can get and can't afford to cough it up that easily.

1301: With the preliminaries out of the way, the blue-booted South African stand-off Andre Pretorius gets the game going.

South Africa: Pienaar, Willemse, Olivier, Julies, Pietersen, Pretorius, Januarie, Steenkamp, G. Botha, van der Linde, B. Botha, van den Berg, van Heerden, Rossouw, Skinstad.
Replacements: Smit, B. Botha, Matfield, Smith, Habana, Steyn, Montgomery.

Tonga: Lilo, Tu'ifua, Hufanga, Taione, Vaka, Hola, Tuipulotu, Maka, S. Tonga'uiha, Lutui, Pulu, Hehea, Kauhenga, Vaki, Latu.
Replacements: Taukafa, Toke, Afeaki, Filipine, Havea, Tupou, Havili.

1259: Haka time for Tonga. The Sipi Tau is performed with typical thigh-slapping gusto and gets a great reception.

1258: South Africa first with their long anthem, and then Tonga with a surprisingly short burst of song. Don't know why it's a surprise but was expecting something longer, and maybe a bit more flowery.

1254: The sun is shining and here come the players. Boks skipper Bobby Skinstad leads out a band of brutes behind him, but looks less than threatening with a cuddly toy under his arm.

1252: Have Tonga got a chance? Get involved on 606 or feel free to drop us a line via text on 81111.

1250: That venue guide has a cracking picture of the Stade Felix-Bollaert with a couple of wheelbarrows on the pitch. Safe to say they're not there anymore, the stands are packed and we're ready for action.

1248: It's not as if these biltong-bred Boks are shrinking violets and with 11 changes there are plenty of South Africans in Lens with a point to prove ahead of the knock-out stages. Lens! Len's what?

1247: The tough-tackling Tongans ran through brick walls to edge out Samoa and will go into this one brimming with confidence. But what chance have they actually got?

1245: It's the Pool A hors d'oeuvre, before the plat du jour that is England v Samoa at 1500 BST, and South Africa against Tonga should be a tasty nibble for those who like their tackles hard and confrontation super-charged.



SEE ALSO
Skinstad named Springboks captain
19 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
Samoa 15-19 Tonga
16 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
England 0-36 South Africa
14 Sep 07 |  English
USA 15-25 Tonga
12 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 59-7 Samoa
09 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
South Africa RWC team guide
03 Sep 07 |  Team guides
Tonga RWC team guide
03 Sep 07 |  Team guides


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