Julian Montoya scored a hat-trick to help Argentina claim a bonus-point 28-12 win over Tonga in Higashiosaka on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Los Pumas bounced back from their controversial round-one loss to France and set up a crucial clash with England next Saturday. Argentina will need to beat Eddie Jones’ side to keep themselves in the playoff race. Argentina’s other playoff rivals, France, next face the USA on Wednesday, a game they should win comfortably.
The platform for victory was laid in the first half, with Montoya making his own piece of history with his first-half hat-trick taking him to the top of the tournament’s try-scoring list, while also making him the highest-scoring hooker at a World Cup.
However, the win was hardly a comfortable one as Argentina were forced into playing through their pack and just could not unleash their backline, especially in the second half when they were nilled by the Tongans.
It took Tonga over 30 minutes to get into the match as they struggled to keep hold of the ball and build any meaningful phases. Tonga’s defensive lines were far better in the second half and they kept Argentina at bay with a number of massive hits.
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A try in each half from fullback Telusa Veainu – the second was a superb finish in the corner – got the Pacific Islanders on the comeback trail but the first-half deficit was too heavy to overcome.
Argentina – Tries: Julian Montoya (3), Santiago Carreras. Conversions: Benjamin Urdapilleta (4).
Tonga – Tries: Telusa Veainu (2). Conversions: Sonatane Takulua.
Argentina – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Santiago Carreas, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Subs: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Bautista Delguy.
Tonga – 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Malietoa Hingano, 12 Siale Piutau (c), 11 David Halaifonua, 10 James Faiva, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Zane Kapeli, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Halaleva Fifita, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Paul Ngauamo, 1 Siegfried ‘Fisiihoi.
Subs: 16 Sosefo Sakalia, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Nasi Manu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Latiume Fosita, 23 Cooper Vuna.
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images