New Zealand 41 Tonga 10
The opening game of any major sporting tournament is always a great opportunity for the underdog to produce a David and Goliath result. Anyone remember four years ago? We know the Pumas haven’t forgotten.
Alas tonight the brave Tongans were unable to cause the opening match upset that the world loves to see. New Zealand were prepared, very prepared and despite an unusual backline lineup, they ran out victors easily 41 points to 10.
The All Blacks performed very well, with their experimental backline working wonders with Richard Kahui and Israel Dagg scoring a couple of tries each. Nonu also scored and had a great game, his match-up with Sonny Bill Williams seemingly firing on all cylinders.
Unfortunately the Tongans were starved of possession and before they really got going they were already a long way behind on the scoreboard. New Zealand-based, Taumalolo scored their only try of the game and they will have to work on their set pieces before their next game if they want to have any meaningful possession.