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Tonga won’t hold back

Tonga won’t hold back

Tonga: Set to get physical

Tonga kick off the World Cup against the top-ranked All Blacks on Friday and warned they would not hold back on their confrontational style.

With their bruising approach, Tonga have a reputation for causing upsets but lack the skills to be considered serious challengers and have not faced a top-tier nation since the last World Cup.

Bone-crunching tackles and bruising collisions at the breakdown were portrayed as an essential part of their game if they are to have any chance of progressing to the play-off rounds.

Tonga hold the record for the most red cards in the history of rugby’s showpiece event with three and share the lead of seven yellow cards with France.

Captain Finau Maka, however, believed the days of punching have long been erased from the Tongan armoury but said like the other island teams Samoa and Fiji, they relished hard, physical contact.

“We won’t hold back on the physical approach, definitely,” he said.

“I think our three Pacific island teams like to play physical games so we’re just going to take it to the All Blacks on Friday and see if they can stop us.”

Tonga coach, Maka’s brother and former All Black Isitolo Maka added his side could not match the way South Africa and Australia beat the All Blacks in their last two outings but they had muscle as their weapon.

“Our strength is in the contact area,” he said although he was concerned about the refereeing of “the big tackles” the Tongans are noted for.

One of five key areas the ten World Cup referees have been is the tackle area with zero tolerance for high tackles, grabbing and twisting of the head and tip tackles.

“Sometimes they’re fair tackles but they (the referees) will keep an eye on one team, one side, and that’s a worry for us.”

The odds are heavily stacked against Tonga with the All Blacks winning their three previous matches against their Pacific island neighbours by an average 79-5 margin.

Meanwhile, Tonga will kick off the World Cup’s haka wars after they were given the nod to start their traditional pre-match war dance ahead of New Zealand in the World Cup opener.

Tournament director Kit McConnell said Tonga had the right to start their haka ahead of hosts New Zealand, who then have the option of trying to out-shout their rivals or waiting until they have finished.

At least two World Cup games will feature a clash of hakas with Fiji also due to play Samoa on September 25.

McConnell said Tonga would start first as they were designated ‘Team A’ for the match at Auckland’s Eden Park, which will also be preceded by a glitzy opening ceremony.

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Poll

Where will Luka Modric start the season?

Poll Results

  • Tottenham 60.66%
  • Real Madrid 21.69%
  • Other 17.65%
All times are local:
"NZST = GMT +13 ; BST +12 ; CEST/SAST +11
9th September TongaNew Zealand41-10
10th September RomaniaScotland34-24
NamibiaFiji49-25
JapanFrance47-21
EnglandArgentina9-13
11th September ItalyAustralia32-6
USAIreland22-10
WalesSouth Africa17-16
14th September NamibiaSamoa49-12
CanadaTonga20-25
GeorgiaScotland15-6
15th September USARussia6-13
16th September JapanNew Zealand83-7
17th September RomaniaArgentina43-8
FijiSouth Africa49-3
IrelandAustralia6-15
18th September SamoaWales17-10
GeorgiaEngland41-10
CanadaFrance46-19
20th September RussiaItaly53-17
21st September JapanTonga31-18
22nd September NamibiaSouth Africa87-0
23rd September USAAustralia67-5
24th September RomaniaEngland67-3
FranceNew Zealand37-17
25th September SamoaFiji7-27
RussiaIreland62-12
ScotlandArgentina13-12
26th September NamibiaWales81-7
27th September JapanCanada23-23
USAItaly27-10
28th September RomaniaGeorgia25-9
30th September SamoaSouth Africa13-5
1st October RussiaAustralia68-22
TongaFrance14-19
ScotlandEngland16-12
2nd October GeorgiaArgentina25-7
CanadaNew Zealand79-15
FijiWales66-0
ItalyIreland36-6
8th October WalesIreland10-22
FranceEngland12-19
9th October AustraliaSouth Africa9-11
ArgentinaNew Zealand33-10
15th October FranceWales8-9
16th October New ZealandAustralia6-20
21st October AustraliaWales18-21
23rd October New ZealandFrance7-8
Pool A
Pos Team P Pts
1 New Zealand 4 20
2 France 4 11
3 Tonga 4 9
4 Canada 4 6
5 Japan 4 2

Pool B
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 4 18
2 Argentina 4 14
3 Scotland 4 11
4 Georgia 4 4
5 Romania 4 0

Pool C
Pos Team P Pts
1 Ireland 4 17
2 Australia 4 15
3 Italy 4 10
4 USA 4 4
5 Russia 4 1

Pool D
Pos Team P Pts
1 South Africa 4 18
2 Wales 4 15
3 Samoa 4 10
4 Fiji 4 5
5 Namibia 4 0

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