Man, the length’s I’ll go to… this match had better be good, because I’m still skeptical about accepting the existence of time before 6am. The teams:
Scotland: M Robertson; W Liddell, M Nanyn, K Henderson, G Cowan; D McConnell, J Duffy; O Wilkes, B Fisher, S Logan, D McGillivray, I Morrison, A Henderson.
Interchange: P Coupar, C Armit, J Howieson, A Henderson.
Tonga: T Laiseni; C Vuna, F Talanoa, A Emelio, E Uasisele; F Mateo, E Paea; A Kaufusi, T Leo-Latu, A Guttenbeil, L Paea (c), R Fa’aoso, M Paea.
Interchange (one to be omitted): E Lauaki, S Moa, E Tonga, M Manuokafoa, T Williams.
SCOTLAND 0 – 48 TONGA
0 mins: Tonga start of with some hard running, but when they try to run on the final tackle Michael Jennings drops it just past halfway.
2 mins: Scotland attack and cause some pressure, but ruin it when Iain Norrison gives away a penalty for not getting up off the tackle.
3 mins: TRY Feleti Mateo CONVERSION Tony Williams
Tonga get close to the line Scots line for the first time, and Eddie Paea puts a nice chip into the air, from which Mateo outjumps Wade Liddell close to the posts. Williams adds the easy kick.
SCO 0 – 6 TON
7 mins: TRY Eddie Paea CONVERSION Williams
Tonga get another penalty, and as Tonga attack the Scottish line David McConnell commits to the centre of the field far too strongly, and as a result Eddie Paea runs through a hole you could send a herd of elephants through. Williams adds the slightly trickier conversion
SCO 0 – 12 TON
12 mins: Scotland’s discipline is just terrible at the minute. The ref has a word with then and tells them to stop interferring. Let’s see if they listen,
13 mins: Tonga again look threatening close to the line and put on a nice handling move from right to left. Unfortunately Michael Jenning’s pass to Cooper Vuna is forward, rendering the fact it puts Vuna in for a try obselete.
14 mins: Oh my, Scotland get a penalty!
15 mins: Scotland look a little headless as they try to attack the Tonga line for the first time, but a nice chip has to be run out of bounds for a drop out by Lauiki
16 mins: Duffy wastes the built-up pressure by kicking poorly on the third tackle.
19 mins: John Duffy knocks-on as Scotland are working their way in Tongan territory. Apparently there are quarter drinks breaks in this game, as both sides stop for some much appreciated aqua. The first pass after the restart is knocked on by Lopini Paea, and Scotland have some prime real estate.
20 mins: Fisher puts on a lovely short pass to Iain Morrison who is stripped in the process. The ref deems the strip was legal but that the man who recovered the ball was offside.
21 mins: In the end Scotland drop the ball and the attacking opportunity goes once more.
26 mins: TRY Etuate Uaisele CONVERSION Williams
Tonga are looking more threatening, and Michael Jennings gets into open field from inside his own half, and Michael Robertson does well to bring him down. However Tonga have the momentum, and eventually they spread it wide to Etuate Uaisele who goes in the corner. Williams adds a great touchline conversion.
SCO 0 – 18 TON
31 mins: Scotland get a penalty and start attacking the Tongan line seemingly with more intent. Ben Fisher tries to dive over on the last tackle but knocks on reaching for the line. Probably the closest Scotland have come so far.
35 mins:TRY Cooper Vuna CONVERSION Williams
Scotland are attacking the Tongan line, but Duffy makes the mistake of throwing a speculator out wide which hits the deck and into the mitts of Cooper Vuna, who has a clear (if long) run to the Scottish try line. Williams adds the easy kick and Scotland are really up against it here.
SCO 0 – 24 TON
39 mins: Scotland start making some metres with their drives, and Ian Henderson kicks it into touch 20m out from the Tongan line. Neither side seems eager to restart the game and let the time run out, which takes us to the break.
HALF TIME: Scotland 0 – 24 Tonga
Fairly uneventful game so far, Scotland simply seem less up for it. Tonga are playing well but they aren’t turning on the style much really. Still, it could open up in the second half, but you would have to think that would favour Tonga…
Tonga’s hooped team polo shirts are quite nice, aren’t they? Very Wigan-stylee.
40 mins: Scotland start off with some physicality, but Ian Henderson makes the mistake of throwing a hospital pass to his brother Kevin and BOOM SHAKA LAKA! Uaisele puts in a shoulder charge that dislodges the ball.
41 mins: Not that it matters that much, because the ball is spread wide to Michael Jennings who is dumped into touch my Mick Nanyn.
44 mins: TRY Tony Williams CONVERSION Williams
Tonga get a bit lucky as Sam Moa’s knock-on is deemed an illegal strip when it looks a awful lot like he just lost the ball. Eddie Paea puts a switch back inside to Tony Williams who powers through Dave McConnell, MickNanyn and future team-mate Michael Robertson on his way to a try, which he also converts.
SCO 0 – 30 TON
48 mins: Scotland seem completely spent, as they keep requiring more than one effort to bring the Tongans down.
49 mins: Scotland put on their first exciting move of the game as they manage to free Wade Liddell inside their own half, and he passes inside to Robertson before he’s eventually brought down. Alas, they knock it on a few tackles later.
51 mins: Eddie Paea puts up a lovely chip for Mateo to run onto, but Mateo follows it up with a forward pass to Toshio Laiseni when a legal one would have sent him clear to the line.
54 mins: TRY Vuna CONVERSION Williams
Bizarre try there. Paea puts up a bomb into the corner. Wade Liddell and Feluti Talanoa go up for it and Talanoa turns his back into the challenge and it bounces off his back and Liddell into the in-goal. Cooper Vuna falls on the spillage, and the video ref can’t find anything wrong with it. Williams adds the touchline conversion, but you were expecting that, right?
SCO 0 – 36 TON
58 mins: TRY Feluti Talanoa CONVERSION Eddie Paea
Lame defence by Scotland, as Mick Nanyn commits inside for too long as Talanoa barges past him and Iain Henderson. Williams seems to be injured as Eddie Paea takes over the kicking duties, with the same level of success.
SCO 0 – 42 TON
61 mins: Scotland pass the ball from one touchline to the other, with merely allows Tonga to bundle Gavin Cowan into touch instead of Wade Liddell.
66 mins: Scotland get some momentum and a penalty close to the Tongan line, but Jack Howieson loses the ball in a tackle close to the line. Im not really sure where any Scottish points are going to come from.
70 mins: Iain Morrison gets a nice shoulder charge from Williams, and Duffy ends the set with a terrible bomb which goes almost straight in the air. Mateo is the recipient when it finally makes its way back down to earth.
71 mins: Tonga look threatening again. Wille Wanu charges down the line and passes on to Cooper Vuna, but Scotland to their credit show some heart in defence as Liddell and friends hold him up in the in-goal.
75 mins: Tonga are chucking the ball around, as Uaisele offloads to Laiseni, who tries to get it away to Mickey Paea but he just can’t hold onto it. This game is meandering to its conclusion.
78 mins: A bizarre set of kicks and attempted grabs leads to Scotland starting a set 10 metres out from the Tongan line. Again, Ben Fisher is held up very close to the Tongan line, but they waste the set as Michael Robertson’s cross-field bomb is diffused.
79 mins: TRY Michael Jennings CONVERSION Williams
I know this was against a tiring defence, but this was fun to watch. Eddie Paea picks up the pall from dummy-hslf and breaks into the Scottish half and keeps avoiding tacklers, stepping his way around jaded defenders before finally switching the ball inside to Jennings five metres out. It’s an entertaining way to finish the game, even if it is extra harsh on a Scotland side who just haven’t seen anything happen for them today. Williams adds insult to injury with the easy conversion, and it’s game over.
FINAL SCORE: Scotland 0 – 48 Tonga
Well, that seemed unfair on a Scottish side who have exceeded expectatations at this tournament, but TOnga started turning it on towards the end and were worthy winners. Hopefully this isn’t the last game either of these sides have for a while.