Bravehearts upset Tonga with gutsy victory

Scotland has caused the first upset in the Rugby League World Cup, holding on to beat Tonga 26-24 in their opening pool match.


Mate Maa Tonga got on the scoreboard first with Glen Fisiiahi crashing over the try line after picking up a bullet pass.


But Scotland piled on the pressure in return, with fullback Matthew Russell scoring his first of two tries for the match five minutes later. Danny Brough converted to put the Scotsmen in the lead 6-4.


Tonga had repeated attempts at breaking through the Scotland defence, but a poor kicking game meant they were unable to convert their attacking opportunities.




Poor discipline also cost the Tongans, with Brough scoring a penalty goal 21 minutes in.


The Bravehearts built in confidence for the rest of the first half, with tries to Ben Fisher and Brett Carter putting the local side ahead 20-4 at halftime.


The second half saw a very different Tongan side emerge from the sheds, with the momentum switching in their favour almost instantly.


Sika Manu barged over the try line in the opening two minutes of the second half, with Nafe Seluini following suit 8 minutes later to spark their comeback.


A second Sika Manu try in the 56th minute put the Tongans back within two points, with the crowd lifting their support for the football on display.


The Tongans looked to be heading for victory when Willie Manu crossed in the 65th minute, nudging his side into the lead for the first time since early in the first half.


But Scotland was not finished - cool heads and strong offloading saw Russell cross for his second try of the night to seal the victory.


An 80th minute try attempt by Tonga was disallowed by the video referee, handing the Bravehearts their first upset win of the tournament.


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