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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Form guide: Tonga
Pierre Hola in action for Tonga
Hola ran rings around the Korean defenders
Tonga became one of the last qualifiers for the trip to Australia but booked their place in some style.

Needing to beat South Korea over two legs, the bulky Pacific Islanders guaranteed their place with a 75-0 victory in the opener.

A week later, they humiliated the Koreans still further with a resounding 119-0 win.

South Korea rarely looked like making an impression throughout 160 minutes of rugby between the two sides.

Taniela Tulia, Sililo Martens and Stanley Afeaki all scored two tries each in the first leg, with Pierre Hola landing four conversions, a penalty and a try of his own.

Tonga were even better in the second leg as the Koreans' already very fragile bid collapsed.

Korea conceded 17 tries at Tonga's Teufaiva Stadium and Hola converted every single one.

FORM IN 2003

Benhur Kivalu was the day's leading try scorer with four, while Hola Taniela Tulia and Ephraim Taukafa scored two each.

The team's confidence was apparent as they took on Ireland in June, despite coming away losers on the day.

Although the Tongans were outscored six tries to two, they did enough to make Ireland look stilted and uncomfortable throughout the encounter.

Tonga, however, will have to look at their defence and discipline to have any chance of launching a sound World Cup bid.

As well as shipping tries at an alarming rate to a shadow Irish outfit, Viliami Ma'asi was given his marching orders on the hour mark for stamping on the head of Irish number eight Eric Miller.

With a full complement of players lasting the distance in back-to-back matches against arch-rivals Fiji, Tonga prospered.

They came off second best in the opener, losing 34-31 before hitting back with a 23-22 victory the following weekend.

Tonga twice came back, once from 15-0 and then from 34-18, to run Fiji close.

In a thrilling finale, hooker Viliame Ma'Asi and flanker Stanley Afeaki both ran in tries and but for the two missed conversions, Tonga would have returned home victors.

The running rugby of the opening tie failed to be reproduced in the second leg as Fiji's Nicky Little and Tongan Sateki Tu'ipolotu swapped spot-kicks.

A try did eventually come on the hour mark when Sinoe Ngauamo slid in for Tonga before Lisiate 'Ulufonua added a second moments later.

This time it was left to Fiji to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and they so nearly did but for a fluffed pass when Waisale Serevi was primed for a drop-goal.





Links to more Tonga stories


 

PRE-WORLD CUP FORM
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