Full Time
7:00pm Sat June 23, 2018
Test Matches - Campbelltown Stadium - Crowd: 17802

Match Overview

Tonga produced a powerful and dominant opening 40 minutes to go into the break with a 30 point lead, before a Samoan second half fight back brought the game to life, although ultimately fell short in a 38-22 loss.

The scoring began in the second minute when Gavet received a pass behind the decoy runner, running onto it at full steam and then smashed through the defence to score to the left of the posts. Lino converted.

The rest of the half was all Tonga's. In the ninth minute Tonga hit back, when Havili took on the line from dummy half and barged over between two defenders to score a strong try. Taukeiaho converted.

Two minutes later and Tonga crossed again that's to some lovely stepping by Taumalolo, which got him into a gap, before linking with Hopoate, who then drew the fullback before passing to Hingano who then raced away to score under the posts. Taukeiaho converted again.

Another four minutes passed before Hopoate got a lovely quick pass to Hurrell, who dived over for an easy try on the right side. Taukeiaho failed to convert.

In the 23rd minute Hurrell flicked the ball out where it bounced off Jennings' shin and bounced forward into the Samoan in-goal. Jennings dived on the loose ball for a lucky try in the right corner. Taukeiaho again failed to convert.

Just on the half hour mark, Tonga scored again, when Hopoate straightened off his left foot and sliced through some lazy defence to score a strong solo try. Taukeiaho converted.

Three minutes later Tonga shifted the ball left with some magnificent quick passing, resulting in Tupou getting some space and he darted over to score in the corner. Taukeiaho couldn't convert from touch, giving Tonga a 30-6 lead at the break.

Four minutes into the second half and Tonga continued where they left off in the first half, when Tatola took a crash ball, first pass off the ruck and smashed through the middle defence to score under the crossbar. Taukeiaho converted.

The game then turned on its ear. Samoa scored ten minutes into the second half when Lafai took on the line, spun out of a tackle, got back to his feet and then plopped over the line for a try. Lino converted.

Four minutes later and Tyrone May had a crack at the line himself, bouncing off defenders to force himself over the line for a try. Lino again converted.

Just after an hour had passed, Samoa crossed again after a great run by Leilua. On the following play, Lino linked with Lafai, who stepped two players and then got a great ball to Taufua, who ran in to score. Lino failed to convert from touch.

With nine minutes remaining, Tonga got a penalty close to the Samoan line and Taukeiaho kicked a penalty goal, wrapping up the game 38-22.

3. Jason Taumalolo

Taumalolo was magnificent. Powerful running, fleet-footed stepping, line break assists, kicks, he did everything and more.

2. Sio Siua Taukeiaho

The backrower was a huge handful all match on the edges of the ruck and was a wall in defence.

1. William Hopoate

The Tongan fullback was brilliant at the back, safe under the high ball and providing brilliant support play.