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Rugby World Cup: Five-try Tonga bounce back in style against Namibia

Tonga 35-21 Namibia

By Phil Blanche

Tonga moved into second place in Pool C with a 35-21 World Cup victory over Namibia in Exeter.

The Sea Eagles' ambitions were seriously dented when they lost their opening game to Georgia 10 days ago in an early shock.

But Tonga bounced back from that disappointment by scoring five tries - their most in a World Cup game - to register a bonus-point win and move above Argentina and Georgia in their group.

With pool games against Argentina and New Zealand to come, Tonga remain outsiders to make their first World Cup quarter-final, but at least this victory will provide the Pacific Islanders with a dose of confidence for those daunting tests ahead.

Wing Telusa Veainu and flanker Jack Ram both scored twice, and Latiume Fosita once, as Tonga combined some exciting running with their set-piece dominance against the competition's lowest-ranked side.

Namibia's wait for a World Cup win now stands at 16 years and 17 matches since their debut in 1999, but they had the consolation of scoring three tries - two of them from inspirational skipper Jacques Burger.

Tonga were almost shocked again when Namibia centre Johan Deysel failed to punish an early overlap and the Sea Eagles made the most of their good fortune to score 12 points in as many first-half minutes.

Namibia fought back bravely, however, and 12 minutes from time, Burger went over for his second try to move the score to 32-21.

That raised hopes, but replacement Kurt Morath eased Tongan fears when he became his country's greatest points scorer with a late penalty.

Tonga: Tries: Veainu 2, Ram 2, Fosita Cons: Lilo 2

Pens: Lilo, Morath

TONGA: Tonga'uiha, Lutui, Puafisi, T-Pole, Tu'ineau, Kalamafoni; Ram, Ma'afu; Takulua, Fosita, Veainu, Piukala, Piutau (capt); Halaifonua, Lilo. Replacements: William Helu for Lilo (64), Kurt Morath for Piutau (60), Samisoni Fisilau for Takulua (58), Tevita Mailau for Tonga'uiha (63), Paula Ngauamo for Lutui (47), Halani Aulika for Puafisi (63), Tukulua Lokotui for T-Pole (44), Fonua for Kalamafoni (33).

Namibia: Tries: Tromp, Burger 2.

Cons: Kotze 3.

Namibia: Viviers, Van Jaarsveld, Coetzee, Venter, Uanivi, Burger (capt); Kitshoff, Bothma; Buitendag, Kotze, Van Wyk, Deysel, Van Wyk; Tromp, Botha.

Replacements: Damian Stevens for Tromp (67), Darryl de la Harpe for Deysel (72), David Philander for Buitendag (72), Johnny Redelinghuys for Viviers (41), Louis van der Westhuizen for van Jaarsveld (74), AJ de Klerk for Coetzee (72), PJ van Lill for Venter (42), Tinus du Plessis for Bothma (71).

Referee: G Jackson (New Zealand)

Touch judges: C Pollock (New Zealand) & F Anselmi (Argentina).

Attendance: 10,103

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