No spam ever. Unsubscribe in one click. By submitting your email address you certify that you are over 18, agree with our Terms & Conditions and indicate your consent to receiving email messages from us.

New Zealand vs Tonga Rugby League World Cup Preview and Team News - Kiwis to edge Tonga in explosive group clash

Andrew Hendrie 8 Nov 2017
  • New Zealand face Tonga on Saturday in the World Cup
  • First meeting between the nations since 1999
New Zealand face Tonga on Saturday

New Zealand and Tonga collide in arguably the most anticipated 2017 Rugby League World Cup clash so far when they square off in Waikato on Saturday afternoon.

An explosive contest awaits in Waikato on Saturday as New Zealand and Tonga battle it out for top spot in Group B - and potentially an easier quarter-final match-up.

Already set to be one of the most bruising encounters of the World Cup, the bad blood was intensified before the tournament was launched after Jason Taumalolo opted to snub the Kiwis in favour of representing Tonga.

Taumalolo has been one of Tonga’s best in their opening two victories over Scotland and Samoa, the last of which really signalling the team’s intent to go deep into the World Cup.

Tonga raced out to a big lead, scoring four of the first five tries in the match, and they were never in danger of losing, demonstrating that they deserve to be counted among contenders at least to make the final.

Which makes this contest with New Zealand particularly intriguing. There’s been a lot of talk about Tonga possibly being more of a threat than the Kiwis this tournament, and you can bet that doesn’t sit well with the New Zealand side.

New Zealand, who aren’t known for their fast starts in tournament formats, have been flawless in their first two matches, destroying Scotland 74-6 last week, following on from a comfortable 20-point triumph over Samoa.

Shaun Johnson is back and playing some of his best footy of the last two seasons - and his creativity in the halves could prove the difference, with both sides equipped with fearsome forward packs.

Tonga will provide New Zealand with their toughest test yet, but as mentioned, the Kiwis can match it with Tonga’s greatest strength - power plays through the middle. An overall classier halves pairing should ensure New Zealand come out on top in the end.

Stats


  • First clash between the nations since 1999
  • New Zealand have won their two previous meetings

Teams


New Zealand squad: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3 Dean Whare 4 Brad Takairangi 5 Jordan Rapana 6 Kodi Nikorima 7 Shaun Johnson 8 Martin Taupau 9 Thomas Leuluai 10 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 11 Simon Mannering 12 Joseph Tapine 13 Adam Blair 14 Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15 Russell Packer 16 Isaac Liu 17 Danny Levi 18 Kenny Bromwich 19 Te Maire Martin 20 Elijah Taylor 21 Peta Hiku

Tonga squad: 1 William Hopoate 2 Daniel Tupou 3 Michael Jennings 4 Konrad Hurrell 5 David Fusitua 6 Tuimoala Lolohea 7 Mafoa’aeata Hingano 8 Andrew Fifita 9 Sione Katoa 10 Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11 Manu Ma’u 12 Sika Manu (c) 13 Jason Taumalolo 14 Siliva Havili 15 Sam Moa 16 Peni Terepo 17 Ben Murdoch-Masila 18 Mahe Fonua 19 Manu Vatuvei 20 Ukuma Ta’ai 21 Tevita Pangai Junior

Tips



NSW BOOKIES Australia

Share this with your friends

To:
From:
Your comments:

New Zealand vs Tonga Rugby League World Cup Preview and Team News - Kiwis to edge Tonga in explosive group clash

New Zealand and Tonga collide in arguably the most anticipated 2017 Rugby League World Cup clash so far when they square off in Waikato on Saturday afternoon.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages