Rugby World Cup: Canada upset victory against Tonga

Tonga paid the price for a hodgepodge of misunderstandings, mistakes and indecision as Canada timed their arrival to perfection for a 25-20 win in their Rugby World Cup tie. Pool A in Whangarei.

The Tongans signaled their intentions early in Wednesday’s game, their big forwards striking through the middle before No 10 Taniela Moa extended the Canadian defense with some giant passes.

But Canada was effective on the counter-attack and managed to put Tonga’s defensive line under pressure with their punctual runners.

Tonga’s cause was not helped by aimless kicking in a stiff breeze, and a lack of communication in attack meant they squandered a wealth of early possession.

Canada looked well in control during the first half, locking Jebb Sinclair opener with a well-timed try triggered by a running tackle from powerful open flanker Chauncey O’Toole.

But Tonga regrouped, opting to keep the ball tight and work the pick and go, and were rewarded just at half-time when center Siali Piutau crossed.

The conversion of full-back Kurt Morath left the Canadians coached by Kieran Crowley with a narrow 10-7 lead at the break.

Canada worked hard against the wind in the second half, kicking smart and keeping the ball tight.

But Tonga finally started to cut back on errors and seemed to have settled into their rhythm with Piutau’s second try in the 53rd minute.

However, tries from number 8 Aaron Carpenter and winger Phil McKenzie in the final 15 minutes were enough to bring Canada home.