Controversy! Mate Ma'a Tonga denied at the death as England hold on to win RLWC semi-final

England have edged Tonga 20-18 after a late surge from the Pacific nation in the final minutes at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland to win the Rugby League World Cup semi-final.

80 mins - TONGA 18 ENGLAND 20

NO TRY! Controversy as Andrew Fifita is denied a try with the referee ending the game and not going upstairs to review the possible try.

78 mins - TONGA 18 ENGLAND 20

TRY! After a massive bust from Jason Taumalolo he finds Tui Lolohea who runs in to score under the posts - Tonga trail by just two points!

76 mins - TONGA 12 ENGLAND 20

TRY! Siliva Havili scoots out of dummy half and goes over to score Tonga's second try. Only three minutes remaining on the clock and Sio Siua Taukeiaho adds the extras.

73 mins - TONGA 6 ENGLAND 20

TRY! Tevita Pangai Junior crashes over to score Tonga's first try of the match - he shows great strength to power of the white line.

70 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 20

DEFENCE! England keep their cool and repel another attack from Tonga, the men in red struggling to break England's defensive line.

66 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 20

TRY! England put it through the hands and John Bateman crashes over to score England's third try of the match. Gareth Widdop lands the conversion from out wide.

66 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 14

Luke Gale puts in a superb kick that sits up inside Tonga's in-goal and good chase from his teammates earns his side a goal-line dropout.

64 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 14

Tonga make a clever break down the left edge but it is the final pass from Michael Jennings that lets them down. We are heading into the final quarter of the semi-final.

62 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 14

PENALTY! Tonga are penalised as Michael Jennings tackles Gareth Widdop in the air.

59 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 14

NO TRY! Ata Hingano puts up an awesome cross-field bomb but Tonga's winger David Fusitu'a is unable to hold onto the ball in the air.

56 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 14

MISTAKE! Just as Tonga start to get some good go forward Ben Murdoch-Masila fumbles the ball 5m out from the try-line.

52 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 14

KNOCK ON! Tonga under the pump again with England hot attack and a solid set. They have an attacking scrum inside Tonga's 20m line after David Fusitu'a knocks the ball on after a great England kick on the last.

49 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 14

PENALTY! England make some excellent metres - Tonga on the back foot as England's quick play of the balls keeping Tongans under the pump. England have opted for penalty kick at goal - Gareth Widdop nails it and England extend their lead. 

46 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

Tonga opt to kick early in the tackle and Ata Hingano's kick lands just inside England's 10m line. A good chase by Tonga amd England struggle to make it out of their own half.

43 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

NO TRY! After a perfect pass from Will Hopoate - Daniel Tupou drops the ball cold - a definite try goes begging for Tonga.

40 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

And we are back underway! Gareth Widdop kicks off towards the Tongans.


40 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

A brilliant first half of rugby league - Tonga showed great strength to keep England out in the final 10 mins after being under huge pressure. England have been clinical on attack and defence. We are in for a huge final 40 minutes here at Mount Smart!

39 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

NO TRY! Tonga march their way up field and Tui Lolohea grubbers for himself and he's been taken out by the English defence. Referee rules play on.

38 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

SPOT TACKLE! Sione Katoa comes flying out of the defensive line and forces an error from England. He drops his England opposite with a big tackle.

37 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

England get another set after the touch judge rules Tonga's half Tui Lolohea fumbled the football.

36 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

KNOCK ON! Tonga's fullback Will Hopoate drops the ball cold after a grubber kick from England's fullback Gareth Widdop. 

34 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

PENALTY! Sam Burgess earns England a penalty with Tui Lolohea penalised for taking too long to role out of the tackle.

31 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

TACKLE! David Fusitu'a makes a crucial tackle as England had an overlap and looked like they had a third try on their hands - England's centre John Bateman gets smashed in a well-timed tackle from the Tongan winger.

29 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

After a promising run from Andrew Fifita the referee rules he lost the ball in the tackle, replays show otherwise with two England defenders ripping the ball out of his grasp.

26 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

Tonga again end what started as a good set poorly - running sideways and not getting to their final kick. England are letting their opponents make all the mistakes while showing great attitude on defence.

24 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

INJURY! Bad news for England as their star hooker Josh Hodgson limps off the field with a knee injury.

22 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

The final kicking options are letting the Tongans down with England's back three defusing the last play options - fielding the uncontested kicks with ease. 

19 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

PENALTY! Tonga get a much needed penalty with England penalised for being offside on the final kick chase.

16 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12

TRY! Gareth Widdop has crashed over to score after Daniel Tupou fell off him as he attempted a tackle. Widdop converts his own try from out wide.

15 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 6

NO TRY! Tui Lolohea opts to run it on the last and Konrad Hurrell opens up England's defence. The Tongans play hot potatoe football against England down the right edge but they are penalised with Michael Jennings passing the ball off the ground while he was tackled. 

14 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 6

Jason Taumalolo of Tonga is tackled during the RLWC quarter-final at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand, 18th November 2017. Copyright photo: John Davidson /
Jason Taumalolo of Tonga is tackled during the RLWC quarter-final against Lebanon at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand. Source: Photosport

Momentum has swung in favour of England as Wayne Bennett's men apply the pressure on the Tongans as they struggle to get out of their own half.

10 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 6

TRY! England's set play off the scrum works to perfection, two second man plays then a simple final pass from Gareth Widdop to Jermaine McGillvary leads to the first try of the match. Widdop's kick hits the posts and goes over.

9 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 0

The offloading game from Tonga are causing all sorts of headaches for the England defence. Gareth Widdop makes a sensational break for England busts Tonga's defence wide open. A great kick on the last and David Fusitu'a is forced to take the ball over the sideline. 

7 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 0

Tonga are making metres with ease through their big forward pack and England are struggling to make it out of their own half.

4 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 0

England's winger Jermaine McGillvary almost came up with a miracle offload to set up a possible try for England but Michael Jennings pounces on the loose pass to get Tonga out of jail.

2 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 0

PENALTY! After a great opening set from Tonga, they are penalised after one of their players shoved an England player on the last tackle.



And we are underway! Sio Siua Taukeiaho kicks off for Tonga to England.


England's half Kevin Brown and star forward Sam Burgess have been cleared to play in today's semi-final after passing a fitness test earlier in the week.

Mate Ma'a Tonga's star winger David Fusitu'a suffered a minor ankle injury in training on Wednesday but has been named to start.

Tonga almost went down to Lebanon last weekend, only just managing to hold on to secure a 24-22 win in Christchurch.

Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo will be key players for Tonga, in creating positive go forward metres as they come up against a big England pack.

Tuimoala Lolohea and Ata Hingano will have to bring their A game this week against Wayne Bennett's England side. Lolohea and Hingano struggled to control the game last weekend when their forwards lost go forward momentum against Lebanon.

England's fullback Gareth Widdop has been solid thoughout the tournament with his wingers Jermaine McGillvary and Ryan Hall having no troubles finding the try-line.

The winner of tonight's match will face the Australian Kangaroos in next Saturday's RLWC final in Brisbane. 


Tonga: 1. William Hopoate 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. David Fusitua 6.Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Ata Hingano 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Siliva Havili 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11.Manu Ma'u 12. Sika Manu 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Peni Terepo 16. Tevita Pangai Junior 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila.

England: 1. Gareth Widdop 2. Jermaine McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. John Bateman 5. Ryan Hall 6.Kevin Brown 7. Luke Gale 8. Chris Hill 9. Josh Hodgson 10. James Graham 11. Sam Burgess 12. Elliot Whitehead 13. Sean O'Loughlin.

Interchange: 14. Alex Walmsley 15. Thomas Burgess 16. Ben Currie 17. James Roby.

43 mins - TONGA 0 ENGLAND 12
73 mins - TONGA 6 ENGLAND 20
76 mins - TONGA 12 ENGLAND 20

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