TONGA'S PHYSICALITY will provide the perfect test for the All Blacks when they open their Rugby World Cup campaign at Eden Park tonight, says assistant coach Wayne Smith.
“The physicality will be good,” he says.
“You don't want a soft pool and we haven't got one. I think they will test us with their physicality and I think they will test us with their athleticism. They are all good rugby players. I think that’s a positive and we don't lack physicality ourselves, so it should be a cracking match.”
Tonga was the surprise package at the 2007 RWC in France, pushing both finalists South Africa and England close in pool play.
Much of that squad would be present tonight. While Tonga is unlikely to beat the Men in Black, it will not roll over easily.
It’s something that Smith is aware of.
“There is no complacency in this group,” he says.
“We are well aware of how they play – they have some of the biggest ball runners up front probably in world rugby.”« Back to Archives
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Not all our own way for NZ teams
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