15. Leigh Halfpenny: 8
Enjoyed plenty of ball in hand and made inroads into Tongan territory almost every time he was called upon. He showcased his offloading ability when he set up Owen Williams for his score and his flawless positioning enabled him to claim every clearance.
14 George North: 7
It was another potent attacking display from the Welsh powerhouse. Skipped past and smashed his way through Tongan defenders on several occasions. Crashed over the line in the 69th minute, only to have the try disallowed for obstruction.
13. Owen Williams: 7
Williams picked some clever running angles to make some considerable inroads into the opposition’s defence. Showed a great turn of pace and a lot of confidence to score. He always looked threatening with the ball in hand and held his own in defence.
12. Ashley Beck: 6
Probed his way through the visiting defence with some mazy runs and his clever footwork enabled him to produce a stunning finish for his try. Stood tall in defence.
11. Hallam Amos: 6
We saw glimpses of the teenager’s capabilities. He proved that he is powerful and direct with the ball in hand and not shy in the contact. He stretched the visiting defence at several moments in the match. Touched down in the corner in the 46th minute but the TMO ruled that he had been forced into touch.
10. James Hook: 5
Looked very energetic in attack, his determination and urgency got the Welsh backline moving from the off. But he will be disappointed that Wales failed to convert so much second-half possession and territory into points. He lacked imagination in the final third and kicked poorly out of hand. Also made a terrible attempt at stopping Viliami Helu when he ran in Tonga’s only score.
9. Lloyd Williams: 6
Distributed crisply and much quicker than his predecessor. Tested the Tongan fringe defence and showed plenty of initiative, but not enough in the opposition’s 22. He was bullied by Teutau Moa in the first half and was a few times swallowed whole by the Tongan pack.
8. Ryan Jones: 7
Imposed himself early on. Carried with intent and to great effect when he took the direct route into the heart of the Tongan defence. He was a nuisance at the breakdown and made some valuable turnovers. But the Welsh captain failed to pay the Tongans the respect that they deserved when he consistently directed James Hook to the corner and Wales failed to register a single point after the 33rd minute. He will also be embarrassed by his laughable attempt at tackling Opeti Fonua which ended in him getting steamrolled.
7. Justin Tipuric: 7
His relentless work at the breakdown suffocated Tonga’s attempts at creating any quick and clean ball. But he was unable to prevent the opposition from doing the same and he was surprisingly anonymous with the ball in hand, when Wales were in need of some added attacking impetus.
6. Dan Lydiate: 6
He led the defensive charge and tackled tenaciously, as he always does. He was at the bottom of every ruck and did his best to disrupt Tongan ball. However, he also failed to prevent the visitors from doing the same.
5. Ian Evans: 8
It was an impressive outing from the Welsh giant. He was immense in the contact and thrived in the ferocious physicality of the match. He stood up and slowed down the Tongan runners, and made it tough for them to get the ball away from the contact area. He also made some huge carries and was a towering presence at the lineout.
4. Luke Charteris: 8
Charteris seemed determined to take on the Tongans by himself. He was gallant with the ball in hand and infallible at the lineout. The second row’s willingness to carry often provided Wales with a strong attacking platform and he deserved a try when he spilt it over the line in the 61st minute.
3. Rhodri Jones: 6
Jones gave another solid performance. He was very mobile and aggressive in defence and tackled with authority. The prop was once again robust in the scrum but quiet in loose and he is yet to carry to any effect in a Welsh shirt.
2. Ken Owens: 4
Struggled against the physicality of the Tongan pack. He rarely made yards with the ball in hand and was sent hurtling backwards on more than one occasion when he attempted to tackle the south sea islanders. Was at least accurate and consistent at the lineout.
1. Paul James: 7
Solid at the set piece, James was also very industrious in the loose. He looked extremely dynamic with the ball in hand and made some impressive advances over the gain line.
The replacements took over in the Welsh occupation of the Tongan 22, but none of them stepped up to find a way through the white wall. The fresh faces in the front row bolstered an already stable scrummage but did not give Wales any more of an advantage at the set piece. Emyr Philips tackled like a clap of thunder and Alun-Wyn Jones made some valuable yards, despite being hit by the Tongan kitchen sink on several occasions. The introduction of Rhodri Williams and Rhys Priestland failed to inspire any Welsh creativity.
By Nathan Hyde (@NathanHyde2)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images