RECAP: New Zealand v Tonga
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to the World Cup warm-up match between New Zealand and Tonga in Hamilton.
The All Blacks play their final World Cup warm-up against Tonga on Saturday with coach Steve Hansen looking for a defence-busting performance from the reigning champions.
Hansen is expecting opponents in Japan to employ rush defence in a bid to smother the All Blacks’ attack and derail the New Zealanders’ campaign for a third straight World Cup, and fourth overall.
A hit-out against the bruising Tongans in Hamilton will give the All Blacks a chance test their attacking mettle before the tournament.
2015: New Zealand won 47-9, Newcastle (WC Pool match)
2011: New Zealand won 41-10, Auckland (WC Pool match)
2003: New Zealand won 91-7, Brisbane (WC Pool match)
2000: New Zealand won 102-0, Albany
1999: New Zealand won 45-9, Bristol (WC Pool match)
Prediction: New Zealand
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New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Lauhalas, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Jordie Barrett.
Tonga: 15 David Halaifonua, 14 Cooper Vuna, 13 Mali Hingano, 12 Siale Piutau (captain), 11 Viliami Lolohea, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Tane Takulua, 8 Ma’ama Vaipulu, 7 Fotu Lokotui, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Leva Fifita, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 Siua Maile, 1 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi.
Replacements: 16 Sione Anga’aelangi, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Zane Kapeli, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 James Faiva, 23 Afa Pakalani.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)