Tonga win over Australia “up there with Grand Final victory” says Michael Jennings

James Gordon

Tonga centre Michael Jennings says their win over Australia is up there with winning the NRL Grand Final.

Jennings, 31, won seven caps for the Kangaroos up until 2015, before switching allegiances back to Tonga, who he played for in the 2008 World Cup.

He said: “Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now.

“It’s a proud moment for our small country. It’s unreal. This is up there with winning a Grand Final.”

Tonga planted the island nation’s flag at the top of International Rugby League’s highest peak by defeating world champions Australia for the first time and sent the now-customary sea of red in the stands into raptures.

Their 16-12 triumph over the Kangaroos – in what surely ranks as one of the greatest Test matches of all time – gives the Tongans a cleansweep of wins over the ‘big three’, following on from their groundbreaking 2017 Rugby League World Cup win against the Kiwis and last weekend’s boilover against the Lions in Hamilton.

Prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho said: “I can’t really explain the feeling right now.

“It’s been a long journey for us, we’ve come a long way. We weren’t too sure we were going to get a game this year but full credit to the fans out here, they’ve supported us since day one.

“But man, it feels good to beat all three Tier 1 nations.”