After another competitive showing against a top tier nation, Mate Ma'a Tonga coach Kristian Woolf wants to see his side given more opportunities.
The Tongan side fell to a 34-16 loss to Australia at Mt Smart Stadium last night but despite the lopsided score line, the Tongans took the challenge to the Kangaroos.
After beating the Kiwis last year, and falling just short against England, Woolf felt like the nation's first ever match against the world champion Australians proved they belonged in the same conversation as the game's three tier one nations.
"We certainly showed we can be competitive, and we certainly showed that physically we're right up that challenge and if we play to our potential we're going to be right in that game, but unfortunately we didn't give ourselves much of a chance in that first half."
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Australia were able to run in some easy tries in the opening first half to lead 30-10 at the break. It left a large hill for the Tongan side to climb, but they way they came out in the second half was a clear sign that they're more than capable of matching up with the world's best - outscoring the Australians 6-4 in the second 40 minutes.
With a test against the Kiwis scheduled for mid-year in 2019 at a venue still to be decided, Woolf said he was hoping his side would be able to play a game beforehand to get the team ready, after the Kangaroos had the benefit of playing the Kiwis last weekend before meeting Tonga.
"That's something going forward that really needs to be afforded to us," Woolf said. "If we're going to have these games, and obviously we want these opportunities – we learn and get better from these opportunities. If we're going to get these opportunities again then I'd certainly like to think that we can prepare properly."