2023 England v Tonga Internationals

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HoldenV8

Journey Man
I agree. Koula played every game at fullback in last year's WC & has developed as an attacking player since then. The Haumole-Koula combination could have been dynamite, but Wolff chose to ignore it. I only saw a small part of yesterday's game, but it appeared Tonga's attack was very clunky. It would have been better to play Hopoate as a defensive centre with Suli on the wing (have always thought Suli could be most potent as a power winger rather than a centre). Hopefully, Latu gets an opportunity off the bench in game three.

When Tonga beat Australia in Auckland in 2019 ... Kotoni Staggs was their halfback. Now he's the Kangaroos centre.

The truth is that Tonga really don't have decent halves so their attack being clunky right now is no surprise.
 

Uk eagle

Bencher
When Tonga beat Australia in Auckland in 2019 ... Kotoni Staggs was their halfback. Now he's the Kangaroos centre.

The truth is that Tonga really don't have decent halves so their attack being clunky right now is no surprise.
Agreed. If they had a decent spine they would be a real force. As it is they are having to make do with whoever they can although the omission of Koula at full back is a serious oversight.
 

BOZO

Journey Man
Tipping Member
Latu will make his debut for Tonga off the bench today. Here is his coach talking about him

Thank you @40 nil
The Tongan coach believes the young player is ready to play with big men in the big arena and excited to see Latu play

He also said that after seeing his skill set he can understand why the Tigers went all out to sign him.

I am sure Tiger supporters will be salivating and licking their dry premiership winning lips with great anticipation
1699064598934.png
 

Ron E. Gibbs

First Grader
Latu will make his debut for Tonga off the bench today. Here is his coach talking about him

I still reckon Latu will be a very good NRL player for a long time, so it'll be interesting to see how he goes. For all the hype and highlight reel stuff around him, what's impressed me most as he's got older and started playing against men is his defence. He's an excellent defender, with a real appetite for tackling.
 

40 nil

It's only a game ...
A very pedestrian side, esp. the backs, selected for Tonga. Koula is still on the wing with Hurrell & Suli in the centres and Hopoate at fullback. Hopefully, Fainu can provide some spark from the bench. I would be surprised if they trouble England, esp. without AFB. It appears Wolff's selections are on the conservative side. Wonder how he'll fare coaching the Dolphins in 2025?

 

The '47ers

Your resident two-headed Queenslander
You call that piss poor?? That was a full house compared with the family and friends who showed up in NZ!! That UK crowd looked pretty decent seeing as the weather looked typically English.

Agreed, when they had the intro and anthems that side looked a little bareish. But definitely the rest of the stadium looked decent.
 

Carl

Reserve Grader
Tough game at fullback with that many tries scored. Koula usually got one of em but nobody got the other guys.
 

HoldenV8

Journey Man
It was obvious after the first test that Will Hopoate's lack of pace was a liability at fullback, yet Woolf persisted in playing him there for the entire series.

I'm not sure Koula had any roving commission, I just think he went looking for the ball more because he was catching colds out on the left wing with the Tongan attack constantly going to the right side. Either way he was wasted in this series. Should have been the fullback from the start, if not from the 2nd test.
 
Team P W L PD Pts
17 14 3 141 34
17 12 5 118 30
17 11 6 125 28
18 11 7 209 26
18 10 7 97 25
17 9 8 63 24
17 9 8 46 24
18 10 8 3 24
17 9 8 -56 24
17 8 9 -91 22
18 8 10 25 20
17 7 10 -90 20
18 8 10 -97 20
18 7 10 -34 19
17 6 11 -89 18
17 4 13 -153 14
18 4 14 -217 12
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