KAWANA WATERS, Australia (AP) — Tonga has advanced to next year’s Rugby World Cup in France after a 44-22 win over Hong Kong in the final of an Asia Pacific qualifying tournament on Saturday.
Tonga led 20-8 at halftime. Sonatane Takulua scored two first-half tries and added a third in the second half at the 10,000-seat Sunshine Coast Stadium north of Brisbane.
Tonga will play in Pool B in France with defending champion South Africa, No. 1-ranked Ireland, Scotland and Romania.
Hong Kong can still qualify for France via a second-chance tournament in Dubai in November. A four-team tournament also involving the United States, Kenya and Portugal will determine the 20th team, with the winner joining Pool C with Wales, two-time champion Australia, Georgia and Fiji.