venue: Browne Park, Rockhampton
8th November 2008
Full Match Report
RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP 7 / 8th PLAY-OFF
Scotland's World Cup campaign finished on a losing note after a heavy defeat to Tonga in their ranking play-off. Without injured captain Danny Brough, the Scots struggled and were 12-0 down after 10 minutes following tries by Feleti Mateo and Eddie Paea. Tonga ran in eight tries with Cooper Vuna grabbing two while Manly-bound Tony Williams kicked seven goals and scored a try. Etuate Uaisele, Fetuli Talanoa and Michael Jennings completed the rout.
Tonga took the lead after four minutes when Paea's kick found the in-goal area and Mateo jumped over winger Wade Liddell to touch down and then Paea got on the scoreboard himself minutes later when he exploited a gap to score. Scotland finally started to enjoy some possession and had their best opportunity of the first half when Iain Morrison had the chance to dive over in the 22nd minute. But he had the ball stripped from his hands as he reached out to score.
Having soaked up that brief pressure Tonga went further ahead in the 27th minute when Epalahame Lauaki's cut-out pass to Mickey Paea set up Uaisele to score and they extended their advantage further when a loose pass from John Duffy led to a 85-metre try by Vuna. Williams powered past three Scotland players to score before Vuna grabbed his double and then a seven-man move finished with Talanoa scoring.
The Bravehearts tried to get onto the scoreboard but Jack Howieson knocked on metres from the Tongan line and Ben Fisher got close in the final 90 seconds only to be held up before Eddie Paea strolled through some tired defence in the final seconds, handing off for Michael Jennings to score under the posts as time ran out.
Scotland stand-in captain Ben Fisher: "We missed tackles, the non-completion rate was terrible and you can't do that against a class outfit like Tonga with all the superstars in their side. This is rugby league, if you turn over cheap possession you get your pants pulled down. Even watching a side like Tonga, playing against them it's a bit better to learn from them. You see the way they work together, the offloads, how they push and things like that. It's just something that we'll have to for next time take a leaf out of their book."
Robertson, Liddell, Nanyn, K. Henderson, Cowan, McConnell, Duffy, Wilkes, Fisher, Logan, Morrison, McGillivray, I. Henderson. Replacements: A. Henderson, Coupar, Armit, Howieson.
Talanoa, Vuna, Jennings, Laiseni, Uaisele, Mateo, E. Paea, Kaufusi, Leo-Latu, L. Paea, Lauaki, Emilio, Williams. Replacements: M. Paea, Moa, Uasi, Manu.