Match report: Australia A hammer Tonga
June 22, 2008

A superb performance from Australia A saw them defeat Tonga 90 - 7 in the iRB Pacific Nations Cup match played today in front of a healthy crowd of 6817 at North Sydney Oval in Sydney.

In all Australia A scored 14 tries with four to No.8 Stephen Hoiles, two each to Digby Ioane, Sam Norton Knight and Drew Mitchell and one to Morgan Turinui, Lachie Turner, Patrick Phibbs and Man of the Match Timana Tahu.

After sustained pressure Digby Ioane went in for Australia's A's first try after just six minutes in the left hand corner, after he made the initial break out wide on the right minutes earlier.

Winger Matt Carraro missing the conversion from wide out.

The second try just moments later would've pleased Qantas Wallabies Head Coach Robbie Deans, watching on with the Wallabies squad in the stands, as Australia A launched a counter attack deep in their own territory.

It started with inside centre Timana Tahu making a break about 30 metres out from the Wallabies line. He found flanker Mark Chisholm in support who charged on to the Tonga 22 before passing back to Tahu.

Tahu was then tackled by two Tongan defenders but managed to still get the ball away to captain Morgan Turinui who went over in the right corner for Australia's second try.

Carraro again missing the conversion but Australia A were already up 10 - 0 after ten minutes.

It was Carraro himself who set up Australia A's next try with a superb piece of individual skill.

Getting the ball from fullback Lachie Turner on his 22 he ran to the Tongan line before chipping over the top. He leapt superbly to regather before finding No.8 Stephen Hoiles who ran in under the posts for Australia A's third try.

Carraro converted the try he made to make it 17 - 0 after just 14 minutes.

On the thirty minute mark Tahu set up another try when he somehow managed to slip away a miracle ball to Hoiles despite the attention of three Tongan defenders. Carraro converted from in front to put Australia A up 22 - 0.

Soon after Hoiles completed his hat trick, again thanks to Tahu who made a break on half way before passing to the big No.8 to stroll away and score his third try metres in from the right hand touchline. Carraro this time unsuccessful with the extras to leave it 29 - 0 to Australia A.

Soon after Tahu was over himself finishing off a 75 metre move started by Australia A scrumhalf Brett Sheehan, then carried on by a long break by Ioane down the left touchline before the ball came inside to Tahu to score close to the posts. Carraro converted to make it 36 - 0.

Ioane then scored his second try, Australia A's seventh, a few minutes later, to make it 41-0 after some good lead up work from flanker Richard Brown. Carraro converted beautifully from the sideline to make it 43 - 0 as referee Paul Honiss blew for half time.

Australia A coach Phil Mooney made one change at half time, bringing returning Western Force winger Drew Mitchell on for Carraro.

Australia A were in for their eighth try five minutes after half time when a beautiful long ball from Sheehan sent Ioane on another long run down the left hand wing. The talented Queenslander stepped two Tongan defenders before feeding inside to Hoiles who scampered away for his fourth try.

Sheehan converted to make it an even half century.

Tonga got on the scoreboard soon after with lively hooker Viliame Ma'asi barging his way over from a line out close to the line. The try was well converted by the fullback Vunga Lilo.

The try was met by more changes for Australia A with Sheehan being replaced by Patrick Phibbs and Qantas Wallabies squad member Ben Alexander going off for Brumbies team mate Guy Shepherdson.

Australia A struck back only minutes later with flyhalf Sam Norton-Knight ghosting over from about ten metres out. Norton-Knight converting his own try to make it Australia A 57 - Tonga 7.

Another replacement soon after for Australia A saw Julian Salvi on for flanker Hugh McMeniman.

The changes seemed to disrupt Australia A but on 62 minutes Norton Knight scored a mirror of his first try, running a neat angle from 15 metres out to go over underneath the posts. The lanky flyhalf converted the try for good measure to put Australia A up 64 - 7.

That was Norton-Knight's last action of the game as he was replaced by Waratahs team mate Daniel Halangahu soon after.

The Ikale Tahi (Sea Eagles) were being caned in the penalty count but some committed defence held Australia A out until Hoiles popped up in the middle of the backline close to the line to put Mitchell in for a try. Halangahu hitting the post with the conversion attempt as John Ulugia came on for Australia A hooker Sean Hardman.

Another break from Mitchell soon after put Ioane in to a gap and once again the dynamic 22 year old made yards down the left touchline before evading two defenders and getting the ball away to Phibbs who went in for his first try. Halangahu becoming Australia A's fourth successful conversion taker.

A Francois Steyn-like pick up a few minutes later saw Mitchell go in for his second try only moments later as Australia A approached the century mark. Halangahu landing the conversion to make it 83 -7.

Mooney cleared the Australia A bench with seven minutes to go, new Qantas Wallabies Test cap Dean Mumm coming on for Tahu, which saw the talented Hoiles swap to centre.

Australia A kept working hard and after some sustained pressure fullback Lachie Turner snuck over for his first and Australia A's 14th try just on full time. Halangahu again successful with the conversion to make the final score Australia A 90 - Tonga 7.

Tahu was named a popular and well deserving Man of the Match and his impressive performance no doubt will give Deans much to think about in the weeks ahead.

Australia A now go on to play Fiji next Sunday in Brisbane while Tonga will hope to bounce back at home against Samoa.

Australia A 90 (Stephen Hoiles 4, Digby Ioane 2, Drew Mitchell 2, Sam Norton-Knight 2, Morgan Turinui, Timana Tahu, Lachie Turner, Patrick Phibbs tries; Matt Carraro 4, Norton Knight 2, Halangahu 3, Brett Sheehan conversions) defeated Tonga 7 (Viliame Ma'asi try; Vunga Lilo conversion) at North Sydney Oval, Sydney. (Half Time: 43 - 0) Crowd: 6817.

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