Junior Ikale Tahi Forge Comeback Against Moana Pasifika U20s

The Junior Ikale Tahi ended their Oceania U20s campaign in style with a 33-31 victory over the Moana Pasifika U20s in Round 3 at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.

Down 31-30 with only seconds left, their fly half, Sione Matakaiongo, with ice in his veins, kicked the winning penalty goal. The Tongan crowd erupted, proud of their team, as they clinched their first victory of the tournament.

His teammate number eight, Uikelotu Afeaki, was a phenom, scoring a hat-trick to help forge a major comeback against the home side.

It took some time for Tonga to feel comfortable out on the field. Ikale Tahi showed glimpses of firepower in their backline but wasn’t able to execute their opportunities in the first half.

Moana Pasifika came out strong, leading 17-5 at one point in the game. At times they were electric with the ball in hand, getting a lot of go forward and leaving Tonga on the back foot.

The Ikale Tahi were desperate for some magic in the second half and came out looking like a whole new team.

They displayed some blistering attack thanks to their winger, Kepeli Petelo, who was bolting down the sideline, helping them gain some momentum.

With only five minutes remaining, Moana’s AJ Johannson got across the line and a fly-half Tony Donelley converted, closing the gap to just one point.

Despite a yellow card and a tough start, Tonga’s resilience was rewarded.

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