Tonga take on the All Blacks in Pool C fixture at St James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Kick off: 20:00
New Zealand and Tonga meet in a rematch of the opening fixture four years ago, with both teams ending their pool stage campaign this Friday where Tonga need a victory to beat Georgia to third place and automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup.
Ma’a Nonu: The big New Zealand centre has two reasons to have a big game. First, he has to try and cement his place, with Sonny Bill Williams breathing down his neck. But, more importantly, he collects his 100th cap for the Kiwis this weekend. A monumental achievement for any player, but doubly so for the All Blacks.
New Zealand: Ben Smith; Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Waisake Naholo; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino; Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano; Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Ben Franks, Broadie Retallick, Liam Messam, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams
Tonga: Vungakoto Lilo; Telusa Veainu, Siale Piutau, Latiume Fosita, Fetu’u Vainikolo; Kurt Morath, Tane Takulua; Viliami Ma’afu, Nili Latu, Sione Kalamafoni; Joe Tu’ineau, Tukulua Lokotui; Halani Aulika, Elvis Taione, Soane Tonga’uiha.
Replacements: Paula Ngauamo, Alisona Taumalolo, Sila Puafasi, Steve Mafi, Jack Ram, Samisoni, Fisiau, Viliami Tahitu’a, William Helu.
37: In the four previous fixtures, New Zealand have managed a try scoring difference of + 37 against Tonga. They have scored 39 and conceded just twice, both in World Cup pool matches (2003 and 2011.)
Lomu went on a run? In the 2000 fixture between these two sides, Jonah Lomu was one of the ones to watch. He broke through the gain line and it took a third of the Tongan side to push him off the field.
Player to watch…
Nehe Milner-Skudder: The young Hurricanes player has burst onto the All Black scene this season. He made some significant yards against Argentina and scored a brace against Namibia, so watch out for more of the same, particularly when he’s competing for a starting place in the quarter-finals.
New Zealand 41 (Dagg (2), Kahui (2), Kaino, Nonu) - Tonga 10 (Taumalolo) Rugby World Cup pool fixture – September 2011
New Zealand 91 (Braid, Carter, Flynn, Ralph (2), Spencer, Meeuws, Penalty try, Muliaina (2), MacDonald, Howlett (2)) - Tonga 7 (Hola) Rugby World Cup pool fixture – October 2003.
New Zealand 102 Tonga 0. Summer Internationals 2000.
New Zealand: WLWWWW
Kick-off: 20.00 Friday 9th October
TV: Live on ITV4, highlights on ITV.
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