Try time: Tonga's Epeli Taione crashes over in his team's victory over Samoa.

MONTPELLIER, 16 September –  Tonga held on with 13 men to defeat Samoa 19-15 in a tough match at Stade de la Mosson.

Tonga blindside Hale T Pole was red-carded in the 73rd minute for rough play and replacement prop Muliufi Salanoa received a yellow card moments later.

Samoa tried in vain to capitalise but poor handling at crucial moments cost them.

A converted try to inside centre Epeli Taione in the 59th minute, the only five pointer of the match, proved decisive.

Tonga opted to go for the touchline instead of kicking the penalty and Taione crashed over following a maul to make it 16-12.

The Tonga number 8 Finau Maka then made several storming runs after the restart, with one ending in another penalty.

Fly half Pierre Hola slotted the goal, his fourth penalty of the match, to extend his team's lead to 19-12 with 13 minutes remaining.

Samoa replied with another Gavin Williams' penalty – his fifth for the match - to reduce the deficit to one score in the 69th minute.

However, Tonga's tenacious defence held them out.

RNS mp/gs