Rugby League World Cup news: Tonga edge Papua New Guinea in St Helens thriller
Tonga won their first World Cup match after a thrilling match at St Helens' Totally Wicket Stadium.
Kristian Woolf's world number two is heavily favored this year after reaching the semi-finals in 2017 but needed a late try from South Sydney forward Keaon Koloamtangi to hold off a valiant Papua New Guinea challenge.
With over 10,000 people in attendance, the fans witnessed the tournament's closest match to date.
Leeds second rower Rhyse Martin, who went through a gap in the Tonga defense for the opening try, which he converted, gave the underdogs an early lead.
Dan Russell, who came on as a late replacement for Melbourne's Xavier Coates on the left wing, came close to doubling the lead before having a try ruled out for a foot in touch.
The misses were crucial as Tonga took control of the game.
Wolf's men drew level through centre Will Penisini and appeared to seize control with two tries in two minutes just before the break through forward Moeaki Fotuaika and teenage half-back Isaiya Katoa.
Katoa, who has yet to play an NRL game but has shown enough promise to be signed by Wayne Bennett for new club Dolphins in 2023, kicked a third conversion to make it 18-6 at the half.
Within a minute of the restart, Kumuls hooker Edwin Ipape showed his strength by wriggling free from a series of attempted tackles to set up Leigh teammate Lachlan Lam for their second try.
Martin's second goal narrowed the gap to six points, and Papua New Guinea thought they had scored again when Rodrick Tai squeezed in at the corner, only to have the try disallowed by video referee Ben Thaler.
However, 13 minutes from the end, full-back Alex Johnston fashioned a try from a scrum for Russell, and Martin's touchline conversion leveled the scores.
Katoa had a chance to win it with a 40-metre penalty goal, but he missed for the first time in the game, leaving Koloamatangi to score the game-winning goal after his team kept the ball alive on the final tackle.
Mourgue shines as France takes on Greece.
France warmed up for Saturday's Rugby League World Cup match against England with a solid 34-12 win over debutants Greece in Doncaster.
The Catalans Dragons half-back surged over for a second-half try and kicked seven goals as his team cruised to their first final-round victory since 2013.
But the underdogs were far from outclassed, and they frequently threatened the French try line, implying that the host nation will have plenty of chances when they meet in Bolton.
In the 56th minute, Cronulla Sharks centre Siteni Taukamo pounced on a neat kick through French lines to score Greece's first World Cup points, with Lachlan Ilias adding the extras.
And they capped off their big night in style with the final play of the game, when centre Nicholas Mougios surged half the length of the field to score his team's second try.
France, who were stunned by Lebanon in their World Cup opener in 2017, needed only 10 minutes to make an impression, with Jordan Dezaria squeezing through a gap in the Greek defense and Mourgue making the first of many additions with his boot.
Following Taukamo's burst from behind his own try line to half-way, Greece responded with a sustained burst of pressure, but they were unable to capitalize, and France edged further ahead thanks to a Mourgue penalty.
When France extended their lead shortly after, Mourgue's kick behind caused panic, and Tony Gigot sneaked in to touch down as two Greek players fumbled their attempt to shepherd the ball out to touch.
Benjamin Jullien added a third converted try to put France up 20-0 at the break, and Mourgue crossed himself early in the second half after a neat lay-off from Mickael Goudemand.
The Doncaster crowd erupted after Taukamo's big moment, and they had more chances before Mourgue continued his one-man show with a penalty in front of the posts.
Jullien scored his second try of the night in the 75th minute, and Mourgue converted once more before setting the stage for Mougios to finish in style.