New Zealand’s Nehe Milner-Skudder scores a try during the Rugby…
Prop Charlie Faumuina is also unavailable due to a hamstring problem, but otherwise Hansen has opted for a strong XV with centre Ma’a Nonu in line to make his 100 Test appearance.
Kiwi scrum – Tonga pummelled the All Blacks in the set play, winning penalties and buckling opposition loosehead Tony Woodcock.
Tonga face a tough task ahead of them, needing victory against the All Blacks to finish third in the pool and gain an automatic spot for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
“He’s (McCaw) a bloke that keeps trying for the best”, Nonu said when asked what motivated him as an All Black. On Friday, the 54,000 souls crammed into St James’ Park were treated to two dances at once. Tonga trailed Argentina 20-13 at halftime before losing 45-16, and challenged the All Blacks in the biggest match that many Tongan players will ever play.
The Tongans also found a few joy with breaks through flimsy New Zealand defense close to the ruck.
Tonga could only register three Kurt Morath penalties, leaving the New Zealanders to top Pool C with 19 points.
“Tonga were terrific, a joy to watch”. The lucky children being coached by the players on the pitch listened intently to tips and tactics, before eagerly putting them into practice. They did their country proud.
New Zealand v Tonga starts at 8.00pm BST on Friday 9 October.
“The people in the hotel have been first class, and we can’t thank them enough”.
And when New Zealand winger Waisake Naholo failed to take a simple pass when his side had a three-to-one overlap, you sensed the game was on.
Speaking at New Zealand’s Team Announcement today, the Head Coach was very complementary about his team’s training base and Newcastle’s host venue.
“I’m really proud of my boys for the way they finished off like that tonight”.
All Blacks fullback Ben Smith dives in for the first try of their Rugby World Cup clash with Tonga.
However, Nehe Milner-Skudder was the stand-out, demonstrating pace, acuity and balance as he ran in twice.
Lifelong All Blacks fan Sally Johnson, manager of the Scope store in Darlington town centre, has gone all out to welcome her heroes. In 2003, they scored 282 points and conceded 64 before losing to Australia in the semi-finals. Tonga beat Namibia, but lost to Georgia.
Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Brodie Retallick, Liam Messam, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams.
Rounding up the Tonga National Rugby Union Team are Joseph Tuineau, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Nili Latu, Siale Piutau and Sione Kalamafoni. And that’s the only way we’re going to win the game, if we go in there and attack them. New Zealand maintained its unbeaten record in the fixture by beating the Tongans 41-10 in the opening match of the 2011 World Cup. Fiji are second with nine.