Tonga has defeated Hong Kong 44-22 in the Asia / Pacific Play-off played in Australia at the Sunshine Coast Stadium to punch their ticket to Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
For their ninth Rugby World Cup participation, Tonga is joining Georgia, Ireland, Scotland and world champions South Africa in Pool B.
The ‘Ikale Tahi’ will begin their RWC 2023 campaign against Ireland in Nantes on 16 September, before playing Scotland in Nice on 24 September, South Africa in Marseille on 1 October and finishing against Romania in Lille on 8 October.
Tonga’s bid to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023 started just over a year ago when they were beaten by Samoa in both legs of their Oceania 1 play-off (42-13 and 37-15), to lose 79-28 on aggregate.
The Pacific Islanders then bounced back with a 54-10 win against Cook Islands earning them the right to compete in the Asia/Pacific 1 play-off against Hong Kong on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
Hong Kong’s hopes of qualification are not over yet. As the Asia / Pacific runners-up, they will take part in the Final Qualification Tournament in November, a four-team round-robin competition with Portugal (Europe 3), Kenya (Africa 2) and USA (Americas 3). Dates, format and location of the Final Qualification Tournament will be announced on Monday 25 July.