'What a moment': Tonga makes history in Test boilover

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

Tonga has defeated the Kangaroos 16-12 in a stunning Test match boilover at Eden Park in Aukland.

Australia failed to score a point in the second half as Tonga’s defence tightened after the break.

The 41-year first was also Tonga’s first-ever win over Australia.

It is Australia's first defeat to a side other than New Zealand, England or Great Britain since going down to France in 1978.

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The Kangaroos were leading by six not long into the second half on Saturday when Kotoni Staggs was held up over the line by Daly Cherry-Evans.

They didn't have to wait for long to cut into the deficit however, with Michael Jennings scoring off a Will Hopoate cutout pass a minute later.

Tonga celebrate their win over Australia in the Rugby League International Test match at Eden Park on November 02, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

The raucous sea of red was then sent into raptures when Tevita Pangai Junior crashed over off a no-look short ball close to the line for Tonga to claim a four-point lead.

Both teams had several desperate chances to add to the scoreboard, including a last-gasp cut-out pass to Australia's Nick Cotric that went behind him and into touch.

Tonga players were in tears as soon as the fulltime siren sounded soon after.

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Praise for Tonga and criticism of the Kangaroos flowed in equal measure on social media after the game.

Tonga were praised for their excellent play, while Australia were derided for a less than convincing display.

Australian coach Mal Meninga was also heavily criticised.

Speaking on Channel 9, NRL great Andrew Johns said Australia ‘didn’t respect Tonga’.

“I don’t think the Australians respected the opposition,” he said.

“I thought they were really poor.

“We spoke about some individuals, I think they’ll have a real hard look at themselves, some of the guys.

Co-host Brad Fittler said there were certain players on the field who clearly weren’t giving the match their all - allowing Tonga to take full advantage.

“It wasn’t just the young blokes, it wasn’t just the old blokes, it was a mixture,” he said.

“But there were some blokes out there who just wanted the season to be over.”