History created after Tonga topples world champion Australia
Tonga has created rugby league history by beating the world champions, Australia, 16-12, in Auckland New Zealand, on Saturday night.
The match was part of a triple-header which also featured Toa Samoa and Fiji earlier. Samoa lost.
But hardly anyone will remember the Toa Samoa and Fiji clash, let alone New Zealand’s win over the British Lions.
The win by the Tongans has become the talk of the rugby league world, dominating headlines with followers already calling it the continuation of a revolution in league.
According to reports from Auckland, the Tongans came back from six points down at halftime. The Kangaroos led at half time.
This part of the match report from NRL.com.
“After Hopoate scored the opening try in the 20th minute it was Staggs who kicked the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
Another Bronco – Payne Haas – set up Australia's first try not long after he came on the field as replacement for Josh Papalii. Haas ran across field before finding Jack Wighton, who doubled back and wrong-footed the Tongan defenders in the 27th minute.
Scores didn't stay level for long, when Paul Vaughan spun out of a Pangai tackle to score Australia's second try three minutes later.
The 12-6 lead to the Kangaroos stayed that way until half-time despite the majority Tongan crowd breaking out into hymn singing near the break.
Vaughan and Haas's arrival seemed to change the complexion of the game after Tonga dominated early. The pair made 15 runs and four tackle breaks between them in the final 20 minutes of the opening half. But they were matched in intensity through the likes of Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jason Taumalolo, Ofahengaue, Andrew Fifita and Sio Taukeiaho.
In the second half, Tonga again came out guns blazing with Daly Cherry-Evans and James Tedesco holding up Staggs over the line. But no-one could stop Michael Jennings scoring in the 45th minute for the Tongans to edge closer 12-10.
Tempers became frayed when an Ofahengaue tackle under Latrell Mitchell's ribcage brought players from both sides running in. The crowd took the match to a new emotional level not long afterwards, when Pangai crossed in the 53rd minute to put Tonga in front for the first time 16-12.
And despite several frantic Australia runs at the Tongan line in the final 10 minutes, they could not make the last pass connect, or break the final tackle."