New Zealand vs Tonga: Rugby League World Cup highlights, live scores, blog

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    New Zealand vs Tonga

    Rugby League World Cup Pool B Round 3

    Waikato Stadium
    New Zealand Tonga
    22 SCORE 28
    4 Tries 5
    3 Conversions 3
    0 Penalty Goals 1
    0 Field Goals 0

    Match result:

    Tonga have scored five second-half tries to upset New Zealand 28-22 in a thrilling contest in front of a packed house at Waikato Stadium.

    » Click here to read the full match report

    Final score
    New Zealand 22
    Tonga 28

    Match preview:

    The most eagerly anticipated clash of the Rugby League World Cup pool rounds will see New Zealand take on Tonga. Join The Roar for a live blog of the match on Saturday afternoon at Waikato Stadium in New Zealand from 3pm (AEDT).

    This match had spice added to it when Jason Taumalolo made the late decision to switch his allegiance from the Kiwis to Tonga for this tournament. He’s bound to receive a frosty reception from both New Zealand fans and his former Test teammates.

    Both teams are undefeated at the tournament – each won matches against Samoa and Scotland – but New Zealand have racked up more points and conceded less, so they’ll start as favourites.

    With two wins, each nation has already qualified for the quarter-finals, but top spot in Pool B is up for grabs, which would mean an easier opponent in next week’s quarters.

    The winner will most likely play Lebanon if other results this weekend pan out as expected, while the loser will face Fiji.

    New Zealand have made three changes to the team that thumped Scotland 74-6 last week, with wingers Jordan Rapana and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak replacing Peta Hiku and Jason Nightingale, while Thomas Leuluai comes in for Elijah Taylor at hooker.

    The Tongans have been forced to make one change to the team that beat Samoa 32-18 last week, with centre Konrad Hurrell named in place of the injured Solomone Kata.

    Prediction
    Tonga by 4 in an upset.

    Join The Roar for a live blog of the match between New Zealand and Tonga on Saturday afternoon at Waikato Stadium in New Zealand from 3pm (AEDT).

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    The Crowd Says (184)

    The Roar Live Blog: Latest comments displayed at the top of the page | Click here to jump to leave a comment

    • 6:56am
      Damo said | 6:56am | ! Report

      Hopefully the NRL let these nations actually play proper internationals in the season every year. SOO time is perfect. But they wont in case it undermines SOO and their precious NRL.

    • 5:44pm
      TC123 said | 5:44pm | ! Report

      Great result for Tonga and a well deserved win. I can’t help but think the Kiwis have gone back 20 years under Kidwell. He’s a shocking coach and will be looking for a new job hopefully.

      • 6:03pm
        Fred said | 6:03pm | ! Report

        The Kiwis actually played well – just shows how strong Tonga is

        • Roar Guru

          8:37pm
          Sleiman Azizi said | 8:37pm | ! Report

          Yeah, I thought their first half was very good but they just seemed to go into their shells in the second half.

          • 12:24pm
            Cedric said | 12:24pm | ! Report

            when you only have 30% possession for the 2nd half it’s no doubt they were only a shade of their 1st half. Tonga were no shrinking violets but with 70% of possession and the talent they have they were going to rip apart any team.
            The ref, Sutton, early in the 2nd half made 3 straight calls against the Kiwis, all of which were head shakers, later the calls kept coming.
            Not sure about the whole event, the Tongan songs on the PA not after the game but during the game, the massive Tongan attendance, was the game in Nuku’alofa? Maybe Sutton thought he was there because the Tongan team were given a massive leg up by him.
            Shades of All Blacks vs France!

    • 5:41pm
      Tom G said | 5:41pm | ! Report

      Tonga was superb, Kiwis just as good.. great game by two highly entertaining sides. I’m sure that there will be those who could wax lyrical about the technical deficiencies of both teams but I think people come to see this type of footy and prefer it. This comp has proved one thing to me and that is that refereeing with one official and video ref has to come back to the NRL.. the only thing that two refs and a bunker have produced is an increase in the admin cos, linesman that now do nothing except stand behind goal for kicks, plus a bunch of guys sitting in a darkened room that get it right at about the same percentage rate as the one video ref

    • 5:20pm
      Nardio said | 5:20pm | ! Report

      Wonderful game and great result for Tonga and rugby league.
      The boost the World Cup needed.

    • Roar Guru

      5:13pm
      John Coomer said | 5:13pm | ! Report

      Thanks for joining me on this afternoon’s coverage, hope you enjoyed it.

      Feel free to leave your comments on the game.

    • Roar Guru

      5:12pm
      John Coomer said | 5:12pm | ! Report

      Match report

      TONGA 28
      NEW ZEALAND 22

      Tonga have scored five second half tries to upset New Zealand 28-22 in a thrilling contest in front of a packed house at Waikato Stadium.

      New Zealand had earlier scored three first half tries to head into the sheds leading 16-2.

      But that half-time deficit seemed to spur the Tongans on in the second half. They became more adventurous in attack to chase points and that approach paid off for them.

      The defence from both teams in the first half was intense, but the Kiwis have looked more dangerous in attack in the first forty minutes.

      The Tongans opened the scoring with an early penalty goal, but New Zealand scored the first try in the 20th minute. Winger Dallin Watene- Zelezniak used his pace to score out wide after getting a good ball from centre Dean Whare.

      The Kiwis were in again eight minutes later after a brilliant kick return from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck gave them the field position for an attacking raid. Later in the set, New Zealand spun the ball wide for winger Jordan Rapana to score in the corner.

      The Tongans almost hit back just before half-time with Daniel Tupou showing brilliant hands to score in the corner, but an earlier pass in the movement was ruled forward.

      New Zealand then scored on the stroke of half-time, with centre Brad Takairangi ruled to have not been held before offloading to Tuivasa-Sheck to score.

      The Tongans needed to be first to score in the second half and they did that after eight minutes when winger David Fusitua leapt spectacularly to take a cross-field kick and plant the ball down in the corner.

      That was to be the first of three second-half tries for Fusitua. In the 59th minute, he scored his second when centre Konrad Hurrrell turned the ball inside to him and the New Zealand defence opened up.

      Just three minutes later, the Tongans hit the front when five-eighth Tui Lolohea intercepted a stray New Zealand pass and raced 40 metres to score under the posts. The successful conversion made it 18-16, but there was still 17 minutes to go.

      In the 65th minute, interchange forward Ben Murdoch-Masila cracked the Kiwis’ defence again before turning the ball inside and putting fullback Will Hopoate over.

      New Zealand hit back to make it 24-22 with eight minutes to go. They threw the ball around desperately before Roger Tuivasa-Scheck straightened the attack and used his footwork to score beside the posts.

      But Fusitua iced the game for the Tongans with his third try in the 78th minute, after getting a great inside ball from Hurrell.

      There was a huge amount of support for the Tongans in the crowd, and they got the upset they wanted after things were looking grim at half-time.

      The win means that Tonga finishes at the top of Pool B and will most likely have an easier quarter-final against Lebanon next week, assuming the results of Pool A over the weekend go as expected.

      The Kiwis will now have a harder assignment against Fiji in their quarter-final next week.

    • Roar Rookie

      5:11pm
      up in the north said | 5:11pm | ! Report

      That was an outstanding up and down see sawing game of footy.
      Absolutely chuffed for Tonga, the giant slayers. Man that was the best.
      Anyone who doubts the commitment of players with flexible allegiances need only watch a replay of this game.
      Congrats Mate Maa, done good.

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