reports from Pretoria
Gavin Hastings continued his extraordinary scoring spree in the World Cup as Scotland qualified for the quarter-finals with a handsome victory over Tonga in an ugly match. The Scotland captain, who scored 44 points against the Ivory Coast, added another 31 last night with eight penalties, a try and a conversion.
When Hastings kicked his first penalty in the first minute he passed Grant Fox's record total of 170 points in the World Cup; the eight penalties equalled the world record for one match and he took his grand haul in international rugby to 638.
Tonga began the match with their traditional war dance and that, sadly, signified their intentions. They paid the penalty as the Australian referee, Barry Leask, punished them mercilessly for a hopelessly indisciplined performance. They committed a series of offences, mainly off the ball and by the end had resorted to punching in addition to a variety of late and illegal tackles.
When Hastings was asked if Tonga, who had a player sent off against France, were a dirty team he replied: "No." However his brother Scott, who was flattened after scoring Scotland's final try, was less diplomatic. "I've never been punched so much," he said. "I don't know why Tonga have to resort to such things. They're good players with a lot of talent. Now we can go back to playing rugby."
In front of a crowd of 21,000, Gavin Hastings kicked six penalties out of six to give Scotland a half-time lead of 18-5. He added two more and hit the uprights with two others. The more frustrated the Tongans became the more penalties they conceded and two of their players were warned, one for stamping. When they attempted to move the ball they invariably looked dangerous but in the second half the Scottish forwards, who dominated the lineouts, took a firm grip on the match.
Eric Peters scored their first try, being driven over the line after Craig Joiner had been halted a couple of yards short. Then Gavin Hastings, who proved he was human by missing a couple of kicks at goal, scored a try after powering down the right wing. Another altercation resulted in the game being re-started with a penalty to Scotland and from the halfway line Hastings' kick struck a post.
By this stage the referee was having trouble controlling the game and he, and many others in Pretoria, could not wait for the final whistle. Mana 'Otai, the captain of Tonga who plays most of his rugby in New Zealand, said: "The physical side of the game is very important. Somehow I feel that people have pre-conceived ideas about us as being a dirty team. Gavin Hastings was quite lethal. He kicked us off the park."
It could be said that Tonga did their best to kick Scotland off the park. Scotland lost their prop, Peter Wright, with a strained neck, and the flanker Iain Morrison suffered a cut knee.
Scotland and France, both with six points from two matches, meet at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening to decide the winner of the group. "They are fairly evenly balanced," Otai said. "At the end of the day it is who wants it most. Against us Scotland were the more determined and vigorous in everything they did."
SCOTLAND: G Hastings (Watsonians, capt); C Joyner (Melrose), S Hastings (Watsonians), I Jardine (Stirling County), K Logan (Stirling County); C Chalmers (Melrose), D Patterson (West Hartlepool); D Hilton (Bath), K Milne (Heriots), P Wright (Boroughmuir), D Cronin (Bourges), D Weir, (Melrose), R Wainwright (West Hartlepool), E Peters (Bath), I Morrison (London Scottish). Replacement: P Burnell (London Scottish) for Wright, 77.
TONGA: S Tu'ipulotu (New South Wales); A Taufa (Wellington Harlequins, NZ), U Va'enuku (Toloa OB), P Latu (Vaheloto), T Va'enuku (Police); E Vunipola, M Vunipola (both Toa-ko-Ma'afu); S Fe'ao (Queensland), F Vunipola (Toa-ko-Ma'afu), T Fukofuka (Grammar Old Boys), W Lose (North Harbour), P Latukefu (Australian Capital Territory), I Afeaki (Wellington, NZ), M Otai (Kia-Toa, capt), I Fenukitau (Grammar OB). Replacement: N Tafui (Kolomotu'a) for Vunipola, 57.
Referee: B Leask (Australia).Reuse content