Wales v Tonga as it happened

Live text, video and radio commentary as Wales struggle to a 17-7 victory against Tonga at the Millennium Stadium.

22 November 2013 Last updated at 18:59 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 2146: 

    The majority of Wales rugby fans are probably making their way towards 'chip alley' as I type and who can blame them, they deserve some chips and curry sauce for enduring 80 minutes of that match.

    It promises to be an entertaining day of rugby on Saturday, however, so join us for live text commentary of Scotland's match against Australia. Bye for now.


    BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer: 2 clinical 1st half tries for Wales v Tonga, 4 more went begging, 3 after TMO. Tonga dominated breakdown. Dismal, scoreless 2nd half. 17-7

  3. 2135: 

    A seventh successive victory for Wales over Tonga and it seems no additions to the injury list, which will warm Welsh hearts ahead of next Saturday's clash with Australia. Neither side would get top marks for style, although there were flashes of flair from James Hook.

  4. 2128: 

    Wales failed to score after the break even though they enjoyed 64% of possession and 77% of territory.


    Gareth Jones: Well that was a dull half of rugby.

    Tony Sharpe: Not a great performance but a win is a win!!

    Ted Shuttleworth: Well...that 80 mins of my life I wont get back...

  6. 2129: 

    Man of the match Luke Charteris: "It was pretty ugly out there. We knew going into the match how good a side Tonga were and we were not clinical enough. A team dogged like this will keep putting us under pressure but we won the game.

    "I should have had two tries but didn't manage to get them."

    Martyn Williams, Former Wales captain and BBC Sport expert

    "Wales will be disappointed but credit to Tonga. They will have to improve a lot to beat Australia next week."

    Eddie Butler, BBC Sport commentator

    "The game is over, it has been put out of its misery."

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales fly-half and BBC Sport expert

    "Not a great performance by Wales, but it is important they got no injuries with Australia coming up."

  10. 80 min: 
    FULL-TIME- Wales 17-7 Tonga

    The clock enters the 80th minute and within nine seconds the referee, thankfully, puts us all out of our misery. Man of the match Luke Charteris takes in some extra oxygen and removes his cap, he looks like a man who is glad it's all over.

  11. 78 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Joe Tui'ineau steals Wales line-out ball, allowing the Tongans to rampage towards the halfway line, but they're caught crossing in midfield. Another attack ends with a whimper.

  12. 77 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Wales quickly spin it to the left, giving Ashley Beck a sniff... But it won't come as much of a surprise to read that Wales' attack fizzles out and the referee presents Tonga with a scrum 5m from their own line.

  13. 75 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    It is announced that a little over 46,000 people have turned up at the Millennium Stadium this evening to watch this interminable match.

    Wales have a scrum in front of the Tongan posts, though we've learned not to become too animated by such things in this half.

  14. 72 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    A dart down the blindside from Rhodri Williams after his forwards fail to move an inch at the maul. The hosts recycle possession... A flash from Hallam Amos down the left... Rhys Priestland switches play.. Joe Tu'ineau is penalised for a high tackle on George North, though it seemed a tad harsh.

  15. 70 min: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Warren Gatland decides it's time to change his scrum-halves so Rhodri Williams comes on for Lloyd Williams. A change in the second row, too, with Alun Wyn Jones replacing Ian Evans.

  16. 69 min: 
    NO TRY- Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Referee Mike Fraser says Luke Charteris did, indeed, block play and a cacophony of boos reverberate around the stadium.

  17. 69 min: 
    TRY REVIEW- Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Ryan Jones perfectly presents the ball for George North and the winger barges over from a metre or two out, but the referee asks whether Luke Charteris obstructed play.

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    Rupert Morgan: This is up there with one of the most boring second halves of international rugby I have ever seen

    DT Head: This game shows that if Wales get injuries to key players they are still very, very ordinary

  19. 69 min: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Wales 17-7 Tonga

    A few substitutions to tell you about. Emyr Phillips, Ryan Bevington and Samson Lee form an all-new front-row for Wales, while Rhys Priestland has replaced James Hook.

  20. 67 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    It's with regret that I inform you that there's still a little over 10 minutes remaining of this half. Lloyd Williams attempts to ignite Wales' engines with a tap and go... Hallam Amos kicks ahead towards the right wing...

  21. 65 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    A bulldozing run from 23-stone substitute Opeti Fonua as he gains some valuable yards for his team... Forward Tonga go... Rhodri Jones is caught offside, gifting the Tongans a line-out just inside the Wales half.

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    vicky johnson: Justin Tipuric helping the opposition after a head on battle #sportmanship

    britfan: Justin Tipuric is the most easily recognisable player in rugby

  23. 60 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    A super break from Ashley Beck. A try-saving interception from Will Helu. A steady line-out from Wales deep inside opposition territory. Luke Charteris charges forward, brushes aside would-be tacklers but, with the line looming, the lock fumbles the ball. An opportunity missed.

  24. 59 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Right then Wales, what can you do? The hosts have a scrum 15m or so from the Tongan line... Lloyd Williams darts down the blindside... no joy for the scrum-half and Tonga clear the danger.

  25. 57 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Eddie Butler suggests Jonathan Davies is falling asleep in the commentary box, which just about sums up these last 10 minutes. A group of young boys chant "Wales! Wales!" which is to their credit considering no-one has had much to cheer.

  26. 55 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Wales have dominated territory. According to a graphic which has appeared at the bottom of my screen, the hosts have enjoyed 95% of territory, but they have done little to suggest they will threaten the Tongan line any time soon.

  27. 53 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Errors aplenty from both sides, with Tonga somehow stealing the ball from a Wales scrum. It'd probably be more inspiring watching someone create equilateral triangles with matchsticks to be honest... The two sides exchange high kicks. Vungakoto Lilo gathers Leigh Halfpenny's effort and boots it into touch.

  28. 51 min: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Tonga shuffle their cards, bringing on Samisoni Fisilau for Taniela Moa and Taione Vea for Eddie Aholelei. The substitutions simply add to the disjointed start to this half.

  29. 49 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Even in the heat of battle there's time for sportsmanship as Justin Tipuric proved, turning Sione Kalamafoni on his side to reduce the chances of the flanker swallowing his tongue while he was out for the count, dazed on his back.

    Back to the action, deft handling from Luke Charteris who pops the ball to Ian Evans. The lock surges forward...

    Keith Wood, Former Ireland hooker and BBC Sport expert

    "It is amazing the level of contact we are seeing. So many of the players are getting their heads on the wrong side for contact and getting bashed by the leading knee."

  31. 47 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    There's a delay in play as Sione Kalamafoni doesn't seem to know what day it is after clashing with a Welshman's head in a tackle.

  32. 46 min: 
    NO TRY- Wales 17-7 Tonga
    Hallam Amos

    Hallam Amos goes over at the left touchline, but was the winger bundled into touch before placing the ball down? Yup. It proves to be a try-saving tackle by Siale Piutau.

  33. 45 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    A canny grubber from James Hook for Ashley Beck to chase... decibels rise inside the stadium... but the bounce of the ball is a favourable one for Tonga. Oof.

  34. 43 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Tonga's defence holding firm in a crisis. Taniela Moa with a fine touch finder... it's only a temporary reprieve, though, as Wales rumble forward once again.

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    Martin: Hook's skills, Ryan's brawn, Halfpenny's boot all on show...George that moustache will fall off if another Tongan hits you hard!

  36. 42 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    The Tongans kick away possession and James Hook sniffs an opportunity to counter-attack. The outside-half kicks downfield and sprints down the right wing like a panther, ripping the ball from Viliami Ma'afu's grasp. Wales spread it to the left... George North pumps those powerful legs... the hosts attempting to soften up the Tongan defence...

  37. 41 min: 
    KICK-OFF- Wales 17-7 Tonga

    We're off. Luke Charteris gathers from the kick-off... James Hook kicks straight down the middle, but the chasers aren't up to the task.

    Martyn Williams, Former Wales captain and BBC Sport expert

    "Wales are just that one pass away from breaking the line. They will want to go through the phases, keep the ball and wear the Tongans out."

  39. 2032: 

    Seven points from the unflappable Leigh Halfpenny, who is among five players nominated for the International Rugby Board's Player of the Year award. That's this year - the year 2013 - by the way.

    The full-back is up against All Blacks Kieran Read and Ben Smith, South Africa's Eben Etzebeth and Italy's Sergio Parisse.

    He has now accumulated 165 points so far this year, more than any other player from a major Test nation, which surely must make him one of the favourites? Well, he's in the top five, I suppose...

    Keith Wood, Former Ireland hooker and BBC Sport expert

    "Tonga's Helu makes a great line for his try and picked it from 15 yards behind where he took the ball from. It is a great example for kids to hold your depth."

    Martyn Williams, Former Wales captain and BBC Sport expert

    "Wales will be fairly happy and they know they will be more fitter than the Tongans in the second half."

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    Paul Woodbridge: Great try from Tonga, well deserved and a decent game so far

    Wogan Jones: Ryan Jones having a great game

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales fly-half and BBC Sport expert

    "Wales will be happy with the two tries but they need to pick the tempo up, carry the ball forward and commit some of the Tongan defenders. They need to be more aggressive and direct before going wide."

  44. 40 min: 
    HALF-TIME- Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Referee Mike Fraser toots his whistle, bringing a rather disjoined first-half to an end. There were some wonderful tries during the opening 40 minutes, though, so we won't complain.

  45. 38 min: 
    Wales 17-7 Tonga

    Wales, their pride a little bruised after their defence allowed Helu to saunter through, attempt to inflict some damage just before the break, but their scrum is messy. Lloyd Williams goes well to dive on a loose ball but it fails to come back Wales's way and the referee has no option but to award Tonga a scrum.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales fly-half and BBC Sport expert

    "And that is what Tonga can do. Given the opportunity, they are great broken field runners. Helu has dropped the ball a couple of times but that try will make up for it."

  47. 34 min: 
    TRY- Wales 17-7 Tonga (Try - Helu; Conv Fosita)
    Will Helu

    A beautifully timed angle run from Will Helu who sees off the weak challenges of Ashley Beck and James Hook to score underneath the posts. The play was loose, and Tonga pounced. Latiume Fosita converts.

  48. 32 min: 
    Wales 17-0 Tonga

    James Hook, described by Ryan Jones in the build-up to this match as "one of the most gifted individuals Welsh rugby has seen in a long time", seems intent to work his way through his array of tricks. A cute chip finds George North on the right wing and the former Scarlets man calmly gathers. Although the move comes to nothing so let's move on.

  49. 29 min: 
    Wales 17-0 Tonga

    Young voices can be heard singing oggy, oggy, oggy, although they are more often than not drowned out by the Welsh version of the vuvuzela. An up-and-under from the lively James Hook for debutant Hallam Amos to chase, but the Tongan defence is alert to the danger.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales fly-half and BBC Sport expert

    "What a great try. Bang, bang in and out and a great finish from Ashley Beck."

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    Andy Canavan: Whatever Ryan Jones has had for tea, I want some!!

  52. 24 min: 
    TRY- Wales 17-0 Tonga (Try - Beck; Conv - Halfpenny)
    Ashley Beck

    Regal handling from James Hook and the outside-half is the architect of another ruthless Wales attack. He sets George North free to rampage through midfield. The hosts recycle possession.... Hook spins it to the left for Ashley Beck, who dives over in the corner, leaving Leigh Halfpenny with a tricky touchline conversion, but the word tricky isn't in Halfpenny's vocabulary.

  53. 22 min: 
    Wales 10-0 Tonga

    Tonga have enjoyed 57% of possession but have done little with it. They do, however, have a scrum on the Wales 22 and could spread it either side. They opt to work it to the right, but Owen Williams smothers the Tongan attack. Scrum to Wales... and they work it back to James Hook, who kicks downfield to ease the pressure.

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales fly-half and BBC Sport expert

    "That is a great try. However, James Hook straightened up and got absolutely smashed by one of the Tongan players. No matter if your head is up or down, you are going to get levelled by them."

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    Dena: Fantastic try!!!!

  56. 18 min: 
    Wales 10-0 Tonga

    By the way, the referee reviewed Sione Kalamafoni's tackle on James Hook during the build up to that try, but the Tongan flanker remains on the pitch. His tackle on the outside-half wasn't so late after all. Tonga are nearing the Wales line, but the south sea islanders are a touch impatient with ball in hand.

  57. 15 min: 
    TRY- Wales 10-0 Tonga (Try - Owen Williams; Conv - Halfpenny)

    James Hook sets his backline rolling, counter-attacking from deep inside his own half. Leigh Halfpenny sneaks through a gap and then releases Owen Williams who, with a shuffle of the his hips, weaves through a couple of defenders to score underneath the posts for a clinical score. Leigh Halfpenny confidently converts.

    Owen Williams scores for Wales
  58. 14 min: 
    PENALTY- Wales 3-0 Tonga

    The crowd lift the volume as Leigh Halfpenny's trusted boot gets the scoreboard ticking.

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    Keri Gibson: Neither side is getting to play, it's just who's stronger. And scrum's taking too long, crowd restless

  60. 11 min: 
    Wales 0-0 Tonga

    Ryan Jones bursts through, then James Hook releases Owen Williams, the Cardiff Blues man stepping in and finding a fine angle but, just as the home side thought they had created a gap, Viliami Ma'afu smothers the centre, taking the ball with him. Wonderful defending, but a first sight of weakness in the Tongan defence.

  61. 9 min: 
    Wales 0-0 Tonga

    Success at last for the Tongans at the scrum and the men in white work their way towards the halfway line. The match is more about brawn than beauty in these early stages.

    Wales v Tonga
  62. 7 min: 
    Wales 0-0 Tonga

    Wales remain in a promising position and the ball wobbles back towards Lloyd Williams from the scrum. The scrum-half finds George North but the giant winger is gobbled up by a sea of white-shirted defenders. Wales are camped in Tongan territory, and the visitors must defend a scrum 5m or so from their own line. Nervy stuff if you're waving the Tongan flag.

  63. 5 min: 
    TRY REVIEW- Wales 0-0 Tonga

    Lloyd Williams pounces on Ryan Jones's charge down, taking two players over the line with him, but did the Blues scrum-half touch down? Nah. The TMO deems Williams was held up.

  64. 5 min: 
    Wales 0-0 Tonga

    James Hook with a pressure-relieving touch finder as Tonga, once again, falter in the scrum. Wales lose possession, though... but the ball ricochets here, there and everywhere... Ryan Jones disrupts the Tongan defence...

    Jonathan Davies, Former Wales fly-half and BBC Sport expert

    "Not a great start from Tonga on the set pieces. They lost the ball from the scrum and followed it up with a knock-on in the line-out."

  66. 2 min: 
    Wales 0-0 Tonga

    The visitors are penalised at the scrum so the home team spin it wide to the right, although that particular move sizzles out and the hosts squander possession. But Tonga kick the ball away, allowing Wales to work their way back up field. Sloppy stuff from the Six Nations champions, though, failing to roll away and Tonga have a chance to enter enemy territory.

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    Gwalch Mon: Hoping Hook plays his natural game & doesn't try to force things. Interesting North & 1/2p are playing considering recent injuries

    Jade Blackburn: Backing Ken Owens as a strong performer tonight.

  68. 1 min: 
    Wales 0-0 Tonga

    James Hook, at outside-half, kicks deep to get the match under way and a silly error by Tonga as they gather earns Wales, in an all grey kit, a scrum 10m from the opposition line.

  69. 1932: 

    "I like a good haka," says a colleague to the right of me and, just like that, the Tongans, almost foaming at the mouth, gather for a gruesome war dance. "Get in there," my colleague bellows his seal of approval. "Good haka". It's funny what makes people happy, isn't it.

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    Joff Chapman: Wales should win this game, but, you better believe it's going to hurt!

    rob ashcroft: Wales v Tonga tonight with the boys, going to be be class

  71. 1930: 

    The Tongans, with a red trim on their all-white kit, step out from the changing rooms and make their way into the middle of the cavernous stadium. The mood then changes and the Millennium Stadium goes all showbiz, flames are fiercely blown around the sidelines and Ryan Jones emerges through the fog, leading his countrymen out for a record-breaking 33rd time.

  72. 1927: 

    Tonga coach Mana 'Otai: "Warren Gatland is someone I look up to and to come up against him for the first time is an honour.

    "We need to look after our discipline, which has led us astray a little. We call it 'dominant tackling' back home and need to improve that. It has been a major focus this week."

  73. 1923: 

    If you need to do some research before predicting the outcome of this game, former Wales captain Gwyn Jones has given his views on this battle.

    "By including players like Leigh Halfpenny and George North, the rest of the team know that they cannot let the general standard of the team to drop," writes Jones in his column for the Western Mail.

    "Hook and captain Jones provide priceless experience, whereas Justin Tipuric is still trying to show Gatland why a place should be found for him in the team to face Australia.

    "This means that Wales should be too strong for Tonga and that even if there is a wobble when the crunching tackles come in, Gatland's side have the nous and power to respond and win."

  74. 1921: 

    Wales head coach Warren Gatland: "It is a great opportunity for us. We have a real challenge today and need to give a good performance. We have a nice balance of youth and experience in the side.

    "We haven't been clinical was we would like sometimes against the Pacific Island teams but today the guys that have come in need have a chance to put pressure on the players not in the team today."

  75. 1919: 

    Don't forget to send us your thoughts and general chit-chat on this evening's match. It's the usual shenanigans, you can tweet using the hashtag #bbcrugby or text 81111. Who will the key men be for Wales and how should the men in red approach the big tackling Tongans?

  76. 1915: 

    Wales have never lost to Tonga, winning all six of their previous matches against the men from the south pacific. Although, the Six Nations champions have never enjoyed playing on Friday night at the Millennium Stadium as Warren Gatland's men, of course, lost to Samoa on a Friday night last year. In fact, Wales have lost six of their last eight Tests at the Millennium Stadium which is quite surprising, really.

    Keith Wood, Former Ireland hooker and BBC Sport expert

    "Tonga have become awful lot better in terms of discipline, but it doesn't make them shy of a scrap. They hit hard and across the chest. You need to keep your head out of the way!"

  78. 1914: 
    TEAM NEWS- Wales v Tonga (1930 GMT)

    Wales: Halfpenny, North, O. Williams, Beck, Amos, Hook, L. Williams, James, Owens, R. Jones, Charteris, Evans, Lydiate, Tipuric, R. Jones.

    Replacements: E. Phillips, Bevington, Lee, A. Jones, Warburton, R. Williams, Priestland, J. Williams.

    Tonga: Lilo, Vainikolo, Piutau, Piukala, Helu, Fosita, Moa, Aholelei, Taione, Puafisi, Lokotui, Tu'ineau, Kalamafoni, Latu, Ma'afu.

    Replacements: Taufalele, Vea, Mailau, T-Pole, Fonua, Fisilau, 'Apikotoa, T. Halaifonua.

    Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)

  79. 1910: 

    Where does the time go, eh. One minute you're a hooker for the All Blacks, warming the bench admittedly, and the next you're celebrating your 100th game as an international coach.

    In his column for the Independent, Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts has given an insight into life with Warren Gatland.

    "If you're dissecting him as a coach," writes Roberts. "I think the best attribute you can give him is his complete honesty. If you're playing badly, he'll tell you - it's as simple as that. But also he'll tell you when you're doing well. With him, you know your standing."

    Martyn Williams, Former Wales captain and BBC Sport expert

    "It is never an easy game against any of the Pacific Island teams. This is a banana skin and for some reason they are all always inspired when facing Wales. They have beaten France and Scotland recently and you can't underestimate their potential."

  81. 1905: 

    Hello! The temperature has dipped to teeth-chattering levels and the autumn internationals are coming to an end, but let's not get into a blue funk about such things. Why don't we just enjoy ourselves, yeah? Welcome to live text commentary of Wales' Friday night ding-dong with Tonga.


    Dragons forward Andrew Coombs: Absolutely gutted that I had to pull out of tonight's game through injury. Hardest decision ever. Good luck to all the boys playing.

  83. 1901: 

    Another Welsh player bites the dust, so to speak. Flanker Andrew Coombs has withdrawn from the team because of a back injury and will be replaced by Dan Lydiate, with Alun-Wyn Jones on the bench.

  84. 1900: 

    The sight of men in red shirts falling to their knees, their faces contorted in pain as they hold one ailment or another, has become a matter of routine in recent weeks. The roll call of the injured reads like a who's who of Welsh rugby: Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Alex Cuthbert... and the list goes on.

    There are a few Welshman still standing, although that would be regarded as bad luck by some because those south sea islanders with the bone-crunching tackles are in the Welsh capital.

    Jonathan Davies

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