Wales convincingly defeated Tonga 74-24 in the 2018 Autumn Internationals match at Millennium Stadium (Principality Stadium) in Dublin. The competition between Welsh team and Tongans resulted in record win for home side. Wales beaten Ikali Tahi earning their biggest victory in terms of points difference since Namibia match in RWC 2015. Welsh side has now all three matches of the End Of Year Rugby Union Tests played so far. A win against South Africa in next round will result in clean sweep for Wales. Dan Biggar was main contributor for Welsh team and earned man of the match award for his performance. Wales have won their last eight matches. Tonga have lost in all nine matches played against Welsh team to date. This game offered preparations of Rugby World Cup 2019 for national rugby union teams of both Wales and Tonga.
Wales attacked right from the match start with a 2′ penalty try. Dan Biggar hit a 5′ try, that he converted himself on 6′. Sonatane Takulua of Tonga opened account of his team with a 8′ penalty. Liam Williams smashed a 10′ try for Welsh team that Biggar converted on 11′. Dan Biggar upped the ante for Wales with 21′ penalty. Tongan player Leva Fifita responded with a penalty on 31′, that Takulua converted on 32′. Steve Mafi hit a 38′ penalty that Takulua converted on 39’. Wales were in front with 24-17 on half time and had controlled the first half in terms of possession and territory. Tonga had reduced the Welsh lead despite committing several errors and being one player short due to sin bin.
Tonga erased the Welsh lead quickly in the second half by a Sione Vailanu try on 42′, that Sonatane Takulua converted on 43′. Scorecard read 24-24 and Tonga hoped for maiden win over Wales for a brief time. But then Welsh side went on a rampage scoring 50 points in the second half. Steffan Evans kicked a 45′ penalty that Biggar converted on 46′. Dan Biggar hit a penalty on 55′. Tomos Williams smashed a try on 57′ that Biggar converted on 59′. Tyler Morgan joined the party with a 62′ try. Cory Hill and Aled Davies hit tries on 64′ and 69’; which Rhys Patchell successfully converted. Patchell kicked own try on 71′ that he also converted. Liam Williams hit his second and overall tenth try of Welsh side on 77′ with Patchell converting. Wales finished match with 74-24 score against Tonga, thus winning handsomely by 50 points. This victory boosted their confidence as Wales get plentiful preparation for RWC 2019 in Japan. World Rugby tier 2 team Tonga will have to improve the Tongan preparations for RWC 2019 by tweaking strategy and establishing team combinations.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “We started off exceptionally well and then we had 20 minutes where we put ourselves in a bit of a hole. We dug ourselves out of it in the second half with some outstanding rugby. That group of players would have learned a lot from that experience. There were a couple of things we needed to tidy up at half time and we did that. We spoke at half-time that in previous games in the autumn we’ve started well against teams and allowed them to score points. That group of players did a fantastic job. We knew in Test match rugby sometimes it just does not happen. It can take 50 or 60 minutes to wear a side down and we were able to capitalise on that.”
Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu is confident that Tongan preparations for RWC 2019 are going in right direction. He said: “We’ve got potentially 16 to 18 people missing out of this group of 30. Out of this group of 30 I could see only five or 10 people going to the World Cup. We get our talent back and sufficient time to prepare, and those two things would hugely increase our chances at the World Cup.”
Wales Vs Tonga 74-24
17 November 2018 – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Try: Penalty try (2′), Biggar (5′), L. Williams (10′, 77′), S. Evans (45′), T. Williams (57′), Morgan (62′), Hill (64′), A. Davies (69′), Patchell (71′)
Con: Biggar (6′, 11′, 46′, 59′), Patchell (65′, 70′, 72′, 78′)
Pen: Biggar (21′, 55′)
Try: Fifita (31′), Mafi (38′), Vailanu (42′)
Con: Takulua (32′, 39′, 43′)
Pen: Takulua (8′)