THE Tongans celebrated in style (pictured) at the final whistle after beating Italy 16-0 in their Rugby League World Cup clash in Halifax, but the biggest cheers came from Scotland.
The result meant Scotland topped Group C with five points after beating Tonga (26-24) and the USA (22-8), and drawing 30-all with Italy.
Tonga finished with four points from two wins, while Italy performed better than its last place in the group suggested.
Scotland will now take on New Zealand in the first quarter-final on Friday night, Tongan captain and Penrith-bound prop Brent Kite saying he would support the Scots after his team missed out.
"I hope they do well," Kite said. "I hope they go out there and give it their all.
"I was hoping Tonga could get into a quarter-final and show people we are coming along and show them there are reasons to play more international games and give little countries like Tonga and Scotland a go.
"I will be cheering for Scotland and any of those emerging nations that come through to the quarters. I hope they do themselves proud and the rest of the countries who would love to be there."
Italian captain Anthony Minichiello was also bitterly disappointed the tournament was over for his team after it showed a lot of early promise. After beating England 15-14 in a warm-up match, the Azzuri beat Wales 32-16 before drawing with Scotland and then losing to Tonga.
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