Tonga

Tonga will look to register a second consecutive World Cup victory when they meet Wales at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Monday.

Tonga edged Papua New Guinea in St Helens in their first game and return to the same stadium to knock off the Welsh.

The Dragons were brave but ultimately beaten 18-12 against the Cook Islands in Leigh. They face an even bigger test against Kristian Woolf’s side, and Wales coach John Kear has rotated his squad for this one.

Mike Butt, Will Evans and Rhodri Lloyd have been left out and replaced by Kyle Evans, James Olds and Gavin Bennion.

Ben Evans has been ruled out for the rest of the World Cup with a throat injury, with his place taken by Warrington prop Luke Thomas.

Wales have a huge task ahead of them with Tonga laden with top quality talent.

Tesi Niu and Konrad Hurrell join the 19-man squad, after missing the Kumuls clash, with Siosiua Taukeaiho named as captain.

Tonga have a monstrous forward pack with Addin Fonua-Blake, Felise Kaufusi, Haumole Olakau’atu, Ben Murdoch-Masila and David Fifita.

Jason Taumalolo is still missing through suspension.

The Mate Ma’a and Wales have never played each other before in international rugby league.

The Dragons have not won a World Cup match in their past two tournaments, in 2017 and 2013, and will be out to break that streak.

A win for Tonga will see them qualify for the knockout stages, where a potential showdown against Samoa could await.

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John Davidson
John is a freelance journalist who has been writing about rugby league for the past decade. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Cups, has appeared on TV and radio, and been published in The I-Paper, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mirror, League Express, Inside Sport magazine and Big League. He writes regularly for Forty-20 magazine, League Weekly and co-hosts the podcasts By the Balls and Six To Go.