SEOUL: Tonga hammered South Korea 75-0 in their rugby union World Cup play-off here yesterday scoring 12 tries without reply.
The Tongans overpowered and outpaced a smaller and less hardy Korean side and are now almost certain to book a place in the finals of the World Cup in Australia in October.
The second leg of the play-off against Korea next week in Tonga will decide who gets the last place in the World Cup group which includes Wales, New Zealand and Canada.
We played well in patches today, said Tonga's national coach Jim Love, a New Zealander.
I think we have done enough to get that World Cup place.
South Korea came close to scoring on a couple of occasions but the match was mostly one-way traffic with six tries scored in each half thanks mainly to the tackle busting speed of the Tongan backs.
Centre Taniela Tulia scored two, including the first half opener after just two minutes. He scored again on the half hour.
Silio Martens, Tonga's former New Zealand under-21 half back, scored tries in the 34th and 49th and Stanley Afeaki, the Auckland flanker added two more in the 69th and 84th minute.
Pierre Hola scored four conversions and a penalty and David Palu added two more points through another conversion. AFP