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Tonga have escaped with a 24-18 win over Papua New Guinea in the most thrilling clash of the World Cup so far.
Despite having the much weaker side, PNG fought hard and levelled the scores in the 67th minute only for Tonga to break their hearts with a frantic try with just three minutes left on the clock.
The Kumuls will be wondering ‘what if?’ after Rodrick Tai was controversially denied a try in the corner in the 53rd minute.
Tai looked to have plant the ball down as he was being pushed over the sideline by Tolu Koula, who was lucky not to be pinged for a shoulder charge.
Rugby league legend James Graham couldn’t believe the try was disallowed and also couldn’t understand why the shoulder charge wasn’t looked at by the video referee.
“Wow,” Graham said when the no-try decision was confirmed.
“By the letter of the law, he does not attempt to wrap his arm around the attacker there.”
PNG got out to a red-hot start to the clash with Leeds Rhinos’ Rhys Martin running straight through Tonga’s 18-year-old half Isaiya Katoa.
Tonga responded through Will Penisini but it was Koula, who deserves the accolades. The Manly centre, who was playing fullback, made a break before setting up Penisini with a pinpoint pass.
Moeaki Fotuaika scored under the posts next and two minutes later they were in again as Moses Suli broke through and set up Katoa to send Tonga into the halftime break with an 18-6 lead.
Original Story – https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/world-cup/rugby-league-world-cup-2022-tonga-vs-papua-new-guinea-match-report-highlights-tolu-koula-shoulder-charge-justin-olam-no-try-video/news-story/af85eb8114b162bb6014ac6b59c03e3b
Pic: Martin Rickett/PA).