New Zealand vs Tonga Tips and Odds


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Tonga produced one of the biggest upsets in Rugby League World Cup history by rallying from a 14-point halftime deficit to beat New Zealand 28-22 on Saturday and secure top spot in Group B.

Mate Ma'a five-eighth Tui Lolohea turned the game on it's head with an unbelievable intercept to give the away side the lead for the first time since they kicked the opening penalty goal in the sixth minute.

All the initial talk of securing the services of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita from New Zealand and Australia respectively would have meant little had Tonga suffered a significant defeat at the hands of a Kiwi side far superior on paper, but with those two leading the charge through the middle, the Tongans rose to the heights set by their incredible followers packed in to the ground.

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Tonga are potential semi-final opponents for England.

But Tonga dealt the final blow, when Fusitu'a completed his hat-trick with three minutes to go.

"These people are the reason why all 24 of us are playing for Tonga", he said.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak's decision not to contest a bomb on 48 minutes ended with David Fusitu'a climbing over him for the try that started Tonga's comeback, while a short time later Kodi Nikorima was sucked out of position in the covering defensive line, allowing Fusitu'a a free stroll through for his second try.

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Tensions were at a high following Jason Taumalolo's change of allegiances to the tier-two nation and both sides let the emotions fire with a spine-tingling pre-game haka and sipi tau as both sides did their best to intimidate the opposition.

In his first game ever game against his country of birth, and just a month after he snubbed New Zealand in favour of Tonga, Taumalolo opted to replace usual leader Siliva Havili as the face of the pre-match war cry, with Manu revealing it had been a spur of the moment decision.

New Zealand, however, will face Fiji in Wellington.

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