New Zealand 45 – Tonga 8
New Zealand travelled to RAF Halton to meet Tonga for the station’s second Quarter Final of the day. Soon after the anthems were sung, both teams lined up opposite each other for their pre-match retuals. A thunderous Haka was met with the equally fearsome Sipi Tau, and then then Tonga got the game underway.
Tonga put initial pressure on the All Blacks, but very soon New Zealand started to put together quick, clinical passages that cut through the Tongan line. Discipline started to blight the game, and the referee very quickly came down on the offenders, with Takai being sent to the sidelines.
New Zealand drew first blood, with quick passing outfield giving Deal the space to dive into the right hand corner. New Zealand 5 – 0 Tonga. Keeping up their momentum, New Zealand quickly scored a second try when Deal stole the Tongan ball and ran half the field to place the ball under the posts. NZ 12 – 0 Tonga.
The game was something of a brutal affair and as the hits came it was clear there was little love lost between the two sides. Tonga would get on to the scoreboard after 20 minutes after New Zealand were holding on to the ball, kicking a fairly straightforward penalty. NZ 12 – 3 Tonga.
New Zealand pressed the attack, and on their back feet, Tonga continued to put in high tackles. The referee sent To’a and Fusi to the sin bin in quick succession. With 10 minutes to go, New Zealand caught their own lineout and drove towards the Tongan try line. With only 13 men on the field, Tonga couldn’t stop the maul and they placed the ball down for another 5 points. Conversion successful. NZ 19 – 3 Tonga.
Discipline continued to blight the game and Tonga’s problems got worse as Takai was shown a second yellow, ending his game and reducing Tonga to 12. With the 3 man advantage, NZ quickly threw the ball between the backs, and were stopped short of another score by a knock-on. Resolute Tongan defending kept a determined New Zealand assault from scoring any more points before the interval.
Both teams came into the second half and calmed the tempo somewhat. Both teams struggled to get going as both defences stiffened and closed the game out. Tonga opened up the scoring in the second half after Lokosuka picked up the ball after a number of successive rucks, scoring to the left of the posts, but missed the conversion. NZ 19 – 8 Tonga.
Quick to stifle any prospects of a comeback, New Zealand immediately went on the attack, and a great kick and catch left them scoring to the left of the posts.
5 minutes later, New Zealand continued to pile numbers on the scoreboard after some brilliant passing between Tafa and Broughton then a pass to Vaughan paving the way for him to score. Shortly afterwards Abraham sprinted from his own 22, earning another 7 points. 38 – 8
Tonga always showed the endevour to score more points in the game, but a solid New Zealand defence kept them in check for the remainder of the game. In the closing stages Tafa broke out of a Tongan tackle and another try was scored. A second attack in quick order was denied as Broughton knocked the ball forward.
A last ditch attempt for a consolation try was thwarted and NZ kicked the ball out of the park. Final Score: New Zealand 45 – 8 Tonga.
New Zealand will play the British Army in the IDRC Semi-Finals at Twickenham Stoop on Friday (23 Oct). Tickets are now on sale
A White, C Wright, K Furey, S Woodmass, C Togia, J Berghan, S Hollis, B Achilles, R Broughton, B Wyness, T Tafa, L Vaughan, L Broughton, J Deal, G Ballam
Replacements: S Prosser, D Motutere, M Davys, P Filipo, H Pyne, B Te Kani, M Abraham, C Thompson
S Vaiangina, K Mavae, O Lolohea, C Tu’ilotolava, A Takai, F To’a, S Fusi, S Lokosuka, M Kolotau, K Havealeta, K Uasake, M Keti, P Fonoifua, T Haunesa
Replacements: T Tongatua, V To’a, V Fafileo, T Ika, K Ikamanu, S Naipapalangi, J Vi, U Fa’ao