Langi Gleeson stars in Pacific Nations Cup win

Filipo Daugunu scored two tries and Langi Gleeson produced a powerful spectacle as Australia A cruised to a 39-22 victory over Tonga in Fiji on Saturday to end the Pacific Nations Cup on a winning note.

The Australians fought back after an early try from Samiuela Moli to earn their second win in three games in the competition and move to 12 points.

Australia A top the standings with Samoa set to face Fiji in the tournament’s final game later on Saturday, with the Samoans needing to win to claim the title.

“When they get a punch, they fight back,” former Tonga international Willie Lose of the Australians said in match commentary. “There is a very good team here. They have quality players, there’s no doubt about it. They were belted out but decided to fight fire with fire.

Moli put Tonga ahead in the second minute when he hit the ground from the back of a driving maul but, after Ryan Lonergan’s penalty, Daugunu dove to score in the corner in the 13th minute to give advantage to his team.

Lonergan and William Havili traded penalties before the Australians extended the lead through Gleeson when he ripped through the Tongan defense in the dying seconds of half.

Hamish Stewart added a third try under the posts five minutes after the restart before Moli reduced Tonga’s deficit with a carbon copy from their opener.

However, Daugunu capitalized on Gleeson’s bulldozer run on the hour mark to score in the corner while James Tuttle canceled out Jay Fonokalafi’s try to secure a comfortable victory for Australia A.

The Tongans improved well from their previous two defeats and scored three tries on rolled mauls in an impressive display of power.

“We’re pretty proud,” Lonergan said. “We are disappointed with our first match. After that the boys dug in and we’re really proud of the effort and how we’ve come together over the past few weeks. He added: “Go Fiji!”

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