Tonga in 2011 have emulated their performance in 2007, by coming third in their pool. However, they did it this time by taking the scalp of a top tier nation France. Tonga won their match 19-14. This gives them automatic qualification to 2015.Tonga, ranked 9th in the IRB World Rankings thanks to the result are now at the highest point in their history. They have qualified for all but the 1991 Rugby World Cup Finals. For 2011 Tonga qualified thanks to finishing third in their pool in 2007 and took their place in Pool A along with hosts New Zealand, Canada, France and Japan.
Until the 2007 competition Tonga only had two Rugby World Cup game wins under their belt one against the Ivory Coast in South Africa (1991) the other a much more creditible victory was against Italy in 1999. 2003 saw them beaten in every pool game though they did run Wales close only losing 20-27. In 2007 everything changed as Tonga won 2 of their pool matches and nearly defeated the eventual champions, South Africa, in one of the most memorable and exciting games of the tournament, eventually going down 30-25. However, Tonga finished 3rd in their pool and failed to advance to the Quarter Finals when they lost to England 20-36 in another hard-fought match.
Tonga is another pacific island nation, stretching over 169 volcanic islands. Known as the friendly isles a name given to them when Captain Cook visited however, as the other Polynesian rugby teams, they start their matches with their own war dance, the Tongans is called "sipi-tau" a sight which many teams would not call friendly.
Tonga have new shirts for this years Cup. The shirt has changed considerably from previous versions missing are all the attractive patterns in white they certainly are distinctive now in plain red. To place your order and view other Tonga shirts visit the Tonga Shirts page.
Tonga take their place in Pool A along with hosts New Zealand, Canada, France and Japan. Expect the islanders to punch above their weight again in new Zealand but we cannot see them getting past New Zealand and France and out of the pool stages.