Higashiosaka: Tonga coach Toutai Kefu said his side were capable of inflicting another Rugby World Cup defeat upon France despite making “typical Tier Two errors” in a 28-12 loss to Argentina on Saturday.
Defeat, which followed their opening 35-3 loss to England in a tough Pool C that has been dubbed the ‘group of death’, all but ended Tonga’s hopes of reaching the knockout phase.
They next play France, in Kumamoto on October 6, with Kefu’s men looking to emulate the Tonga team that stunned Les Bleus 19-14 at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand — a tournament where the French reached the final before losing to the All Blacks.
Asked if Tonga could beat France again, Kefu replied: “I think so. Today there were a lot of positives and it could have been a different story if things had gone our way.”
Tonga were 28-0 behind as early as the 26th minute against Argentina at the Hanazono Stadium, the Pumas scoring four tries, including a hat-trick from hooker Julian Montoya before Tonga fullback Telusa Veainu scored tries in the 30th and 65th minutes.
But it might have been a different story when, in first-half stoppage time, Tonga wing David Halaifonua was bundled into touch just before he grounded the ball over the try-line by what looked like an illegal shoulder charge from Pumas lock Tomas Lavanini.