Tonga are treating Sunday’s must-win Pool C encounter with Argentina as their Rugby World Cup final.
Tonga moved into second place in the pool with a 35-21 victory over Namibia on Tuesday in an entertaining clash in front of sell-out crowd of over 12,000 at Exeter’s Sandy Park stadium.
But after Otai’s side did themselves no favours by losing their first game 17-10 to Georgia, they now face a battle royale against the Pumas to snag the second qualifying spot behind defending champions New Zealand.
“It was hugely important, not just for the victory but also to get the five points,” Otai said after watching his side run in five tries to Namibia’s three.
“After Georgia, we kept saying that the dream was still alive. Gaining five points today was another step forward towards that and obviously there are two more games to go.”
After Argentina, Tonga, now second with six points, still have to play New Zealand but the dream could come true if other results go their way.
Otai added: “It’s a little bit of mathematics, we’re getting the calculators out and working out the points!
Captain Siale Piutau dubbed the Argentina game his team’s crunch match.
“Coming off last week the boys were hurting,” he said.
“We’ll definitely celebrate tonight, share a few beverages but we’ll be back on the horse tomorrow and looking to get better where we can.
“We’ll play this Argentina game as our final. We played one final today, we got another life and we’ll play another final come Sunday.”
Namibia coach Phil Davies said he was “very proud” of his team despite extending their losing streak at World Cups to 17.
“We tried to move the ball and our line-out drive was quite successful,” he said, captain Jacques Burger scoring two from driving line-outs.
“The players put a huge effort in against a pretty big and physical Tongan side. They were very dominant at scrum time and very hard to stop when they were carrying the ball.
“It’s a performance we can be happy with in certain areas, but not in other areas (such as) discipline and some aspects of our defence.
“We can’t fault the efforts and commitment of the players, Tonga were just too good for us today basically.”