Final Day of RWC Pool Games See Tonga Claim A Win And Fiji Through To Quarter-Finals
Tonga's Ikale Tahi and The Flying Fijians played the final two matches of the 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool Games, with favourable results for both teams.
Tonga finished their Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign on a high with an entertaining 45-24 Pool B victory over Romania in front of 45,000 fans at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.
The Ikale Tahi swept into a 21-3 lead after winger Solomone Kata collected an offload from Salesi Piutau for the opening try, ex-All Blacks centre George Moala went over and winger Afusipa Taumoepeau added a third after Alin Conache’s penalty for Romania.
Tonga captain Sonatane Takulua admitted the players wanted to get the win for their head coach Toutai Kefu, who is leaving the role. Takula said: "It will mean a lot to our players and especially our coach, finishing up after this World Cup, it is his last game."
Fiji secured a quarter-final against England in Marseille in a week's time but the glory in a mesmerising match at Stadium de Toulouse went to Portugal as they won their first ever Rugby World Cup game, defeating Fiji 24-23.
Australia's future in the competition rested with Os Lobos denying the Flying Fijians a point from this final Pool C match, the last of 40 pool stage contests at Rugby World Cup 2023.
"Congratulations to Portugal, they played really well," said the Fiji head coach. "Disappointed not to get the win, we dropped too much ball. We were a bit tight in the context of the game."
And looking ahead to the last-eight match, Raiwalui added: "England are a very good tournament team and we're expecting a tough game. We'll regroup, review and then get on to England."
Flying Fijians captain Waisea Nayacavelu also praised Portugal before admitting the squad would have to work on their mistakes before facing Steve Borthwick's team.
"We've got to do our fine-tuning for next week, regroup and refocus and take it up to the next level."
Fiji are set to take on England in QF3 on Monday 16th October, 4am NZDT.