But PNG were eventually overpowered 55-16 at Buckhurst Park, Suva, Fiji yesterday.
The Tongans replied with a try to Sione Tongatua which was converted by Patelesio Oneone in the 13th minute and another try by Miniti Tonga in the Under-20 encounter.
PNG’s William Tirang scored the Junior Pukpuks’ first try of the tournament – they lost 63-0 to Fiji in the opener last Friday – which was converted and a penalty in the 29th minute by Aitsi enabled them to lead 13-12.
In the 31st minute Tongan captain Bradley Leiula led by example scoring which was converted by Patelesio Oneone.
A yellow card was issued to Tonga’s centre Moa Maliepo for a dangerous tackle and PNG scored from a penalty with Tonga taking a 19-16 lead at halftime.
In the second half the Tongans lifted the momentum with a penalty and a try from Sunia Latu in the 49th minute.
PNG’s Samuel Mape was yellow-carded soon after and Tonga scored through Tongatua and Sione Tuipolotu which was scored by Oneone.
In the 84th minute Moa Maliepo scored the final try of the match which was converted by Oneone.
Tonga technical advisor Tevita Tuifua said: “In the second half it was like getting back in to our system as we tried to execute all the basic skills right. We are looking forward to play Fiji on Saturday.”
PNG captain Bradley Kelegai said: “The Tongans were tough and physical but the boys played a good game as we held them in the first half. I think we need to improve our fitness.” – FijiSun