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Rugby World Cup 2023 | Match Centre | Tonga 45:24 Romania

Tonga secured their maiden victory at the Rugby World Cup in a thrilling Pool B clash against Romania. Both teams entered the match desperately seeking to avoid finishing at the bottom of the pool, having suffered defeats in all three of their previous encounters against Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa.

Romania managed to stay competitive until the hour mark, preventing Tonga from running away with the game. However, Tonga’s dominance in the final 20 minutes ultimately secured the victory.

Notably, Romania’s 24 points ensured that they did not set a record for the lowest number of points scored in a Rugby World Cup tournament. Before this match, Romania had only accumulated eight points over their three previous games, with a daunting points difference of -234.

Tonga set the tone early in the match, as former All Black Charles Piutau orchestrated a spectacular play that led to Solomone Kata’s try just 11 minutes in. George Moala, another former New Zealand international, added a second try for Tonga four minutes later, exposing Romania’s fragile defense.

While Romania’s Florin Conache managed to score their first points since their opening game against Ireland, Tonga extended their lead to 21-3 after 22 minutes thanks to Afusipa Taumoepeau’s try, created by Sione Talitui’s powerful run.

The Oaks fought back valiantly, with open-side flanker Cristi Boboc narrowing the gap and Florin Surugiu scoring on his 104th and final cap to make it 21-17 at halftime. Tonga’s Sioni Vailanu secured a bonus point with a try on 49 minutes, but Romania answered with a well-placed kick by Nicholas Onutu, which full-back Marius Simionescu converted to make it 28-24 shortly before the hour mark.

However, as Romania’s stamina waned, Tonga capitalized, with Pita Ahki, Solomone Kata, and Kyren Taumoefolau adding the finishing touches to seal a memorable win.

Match Summary

Pool B |Tonga 45:24 Romania

Tonga Scores:

TRIES Solomone Kata (11′, 66′), George Moala (15′), Afusipa Taumoepeau (22′), Sione Vailanu (49′), Pita Ahki (62′), Kyren Taumoefolau (71′)
CONV William Havili (13′, 17′, 23′, 51′, 63′)

Romania Scores:

TRIES Cristi Boboc (30′), Florin Surugiu (36′), Marius Simionescu (55′)
CONV Alin Conache (32′, 37′, 57′)
PENS Alin Conache (19′)

Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille


Angus Gardner

Man of the Match:

Lima Sopoaga (Samoa)


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