“We’ve underachieved ” – Tonga boss Kristian Woolf on World Cup exit

Josh McAllister
Kristian Woolf Tonga

Tonga head coach Kristian Woolf believes his side have underachieved in the World Cup following their quarter-final defeat to Samoa.

Woolf’s side fell to a 20-18 scoreline in a thrilling game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, setting up replay of the tournament’s opening game in the semi-final at the Emirates between England and Samoa.

“I feel like we’ve underachieved a little bit,” a disappointed Woolf said. “We certainly expected from ourselves to be playing in the semi-finals and we’ve come up short.

“We wanted the opportunities of the big games. I thought we had that today but we wanted more of that and for that reason we’ve fallen short of our expectations of ourselves.

“It was always going to be a physical and close game with two good teams. We got exactly what we expected and we are obviously disappointed. To win that game and to go on further in this competition, we needed to be better than we were today.

“We weren’t quite at our best today and it’s a missed opportunity.

“It’s extremely disappointing. There’s a lot of proud guys out there who are extremely proud of who they play for and represent when they put on a Tonga jersey. It means a lot to them.

“We’ve got to learn from it. You learn more from losses.”

Kristian Woolf on Samoa’s chances in semi-finals

Woolf believes Samoa have the talent to put up a fight against England, who are now as high as second-favourites to go on and win the tournament.

The sides will meet next Saturday in London in the second semi-final.

“I think they’re going to be a lot more competitive than what they were, that’s for sure,” Woolf said on Samoa’s chances against the hosts.

“If they back up what they did today and play aggressive and with line speed, then they’ll certainly put themselves in the contest.

“I would have backed us to go and win next week and we weren’t quite good enough today, so I have no doubt that Samoa will be right in the contest to give themselves a chance”

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