Ex-Australia back Israel Folau saw his return to Test rugby cut short after he limped off in the first half of Tonga's Pacific Nations Cup loss to Fiji.

The former Wallabies star injured his leg in a collision less than half-an-hour into his debut and left the field in the 27th minute as 'Ikale Tahi slumped to a 36-0 defeat in Suva.

A 73-Test veteran with Australia, Folau - who qualifies for Tonga through his parents - was eligible to switch under new World Rugby regulations that allow for a change of nation after three years of international inactivity.

The 33-year-old, who originally moved to union following a four-year league career in the NRL with Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, is currently with Shining Arcs Tokyo-Bay Urayasu in Japan's Top League.

Folau is effectively in exile from professional sport in his home country after he was sacked by Rugby Australia over a homophobic social media post in 2019.

He subsequently returned to rugby league and spent a season with Catalans Dragons in Super League before skipping out to return to union in Japan, after he was blacklisted from playing in either code in Australia.

Tonga selected him as part of their squad for the Pacific Nations Cup in May, but it remains to be seen if Folau - who also played AFL with Greater Western Sydney for two years - will be fit enough to return for their next game against Australia A.

Eddie Jones challenged his ruthless England side to become the best team on the planet after they brushed aside Tonga at Twickenham.

England ran in 11 tries as they thumped the Pacific islanders by 69-3 despite the absence of captain Owen Farrell who missed the Test after a positive Covid-19 test.

Jamie George, Jonny May and Ben Youngs claimed two tries apiece while Adam Radwan, Maro Itoje, Marcus Smith, Jamie Blamire and Alex Mitchell also crossed the line.

Tonga played the final 10 minutes a man down after replacement Viliami Fine was shown a red following an elbow to Smith's head.

England have now won 16 of their last 17 Autumn Internationals (excluding the Rugby World Cup and warm-ups), a run dating back to 2014, with New Zealand (2018) the only side to beat them in that time.

Head coach Jones acknowledged there will be much sterner opponents to come – starting with Australia next weekend – but urged his England players to target the summit of world rugby.

"It is a project, we are two years from the World Cup and by the time we get to the World Cup we want to be the best team in the world," he told Amazon Prime.

"It is not what you see, it is how much we improve: this week, and then onto next week and the week after.

"We can only play against the opposition that show. I think we left four tries out there, but I liked the attitude in the second half. 

"In a game like that the crowd can go off for more pints and do a Mexican wave, we managed to keep the energy up and stopped it [the wave] about halfway round the stadium today."

England will face the Wallabies before they round off the Autumn Internationals against world champions South Africa.

Courtney Lawes captained the side in place of Farrell and the forward claimed his team-mates are already as good as any side in the world on their day – although there are still aspects to their game to improve on.

He added: "There is a little bit to work on but it is great to be back with the fans. It was nice to get a few points at the end at bring some entertainment.

"It is going to be a great game [against Australia] I believe we can go toe to toe with anyone, we have a bit to learn but I am looking forward very much to next week."

England captain Owen Farrell has tested positive for COVID-19 and is a major doubt for the upcoming clash with Tonga.

The 30-year-old has gone into isolation after receiving a positive PCR test result and is absent from England's training session on Friday, but he still has a chance of featuring on Saturday, according to the Rugby Football Union.

England confirmed that - aside from one member of support staff - all their other players and staff had returned negative test results on Thursday, and Farrell will be tested again.

The England skipper was set to start the Autumn Nations Series opener at fly-half, with George Ford not named in the squad and Marcus Smith struggling with an injury.

If Farrell is unable to feature, George Furbank is the most natural replacement, although Henry Slade could also move across to take his spot.

 

Toutai Kefu is in a serious but stable condition in hospital after the Tonga coach and former Australia player was wounded during a burglary at his home.

Kefu and three members of his household were taken to hospital following an incident in the Coorparoo area of Brisbane that was reported to police at around 03:00 local time on Monday.

A man in his forties was confirmed to have suffered "serious injuries" after a violent altercation.

Two 15-year-old males have been arrested in relation to the incident, with Queensland Police confirming Kefu's wife, son and daughter were also receiving treatment for knife wounds at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. A third alleged suspect is said to be unaccounted for.

"His initial condition was described as critical, but expected to survive," detective superintendent Tony Fleming told reporters on Monday.

"Mr Kefu is out of surgery and is stable now.

"His son is still receiving treatment as I understand and there's more treatment for Mrs Kefu and their daughter that will continue tomorrow.

"The mother has suffered very, very serious lacerations to her arm and I'm told her wounds are very significant."

Support for Kefu, who played 60 Tests for Australia, and his family poured in from across the world of rugby.

Superintendent Fleming stated that the family was awoken by noises in the house, with Kefu going to investigate.

"That person was accosted by at least one of the offenders in the premises and threatened to be stabbed if they didn’t hand over vehicle keys," Fleming said.

"Other members of the family came to that person's aid and during this time very significant injuries occurred to the family."

Kefu is Australia's most capped number eight of all time and helped the Wallabies win the 1999 World Cup. He coached Tonga at the 2019 tournament in Japan and was reappointed to the role earlier in 2021.

"Thoughts and prayers are with my Tongan brother Toutai Kefu and his family," former cross-code New Zealand star Sonny Bill Williams wrote on Twitter, while the Wallabies tweeted: "You got this great man!! All our love and thoughts to you and the entire Kefu family!" 

New Zealand ran in 16 tries in a 102-0 demolition of Tonga.

Will Jordan helped himself to a five-try haul, while scrum-half Brad Weber ran in a hat-trick as the All Blacks reached a century of points for the sixth time in their history.

They are the only country to have achieved the feat more than once and it was the second time Tonga have found themselves on the receiving end.

Damian McKenzie got the scoring underway with a second-minute try and the full-back went on to claim three assists as nine All Blacks crossed overall.

Dalton Papalii's first-half double, along with Jordan and Weber getting into their work meant it was 43-0 at half-time and worse was to follow for the visitors, who were without the bulk of their northern hemisphere players due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and named 13 debutants.

Luke Jacobson, Richie Mo'unga, Rieko Ioane and Patrick Tuipulotu all got in on the act in the second half, marking an emphatic start to their 2021 schedule having won only half of their six 2020 outings.

 

Mo'unga landed seven conversions before making way for Beauden Barrett, back from his sabbatical in Japan.

Barrett added the extra for a fourth and final time after the hooter when George Bridge compounded Tonga's misery by bringing up three figures – his try a reward for a tireless performance where the wing made seven clean breaks.

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