Rugby

All Blacks choose Tonga to fine-tune for RWC

2018-11-25 11:45
Steve Tew (AFP)

Wellington - New Zealand have chosen Tonga for their final dress rehearsal before defending their crown at the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year.

New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew said on Sunday the one-off match would be played on September 7 in New Zealand, two weeks before the All Blacks open their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Yokohama.

Tonga, ranked 12th in the world, have lost each of their five previous matches against New Zealand.

"We invited Tonga to play this fixture which we saw as an important part of the All Blacks' preparation, but also a great way for Tonga to prepare for (the) Rugby World Cup 2019," Tew said.

The All Blacks, bidding for a record third-consecutive world title, only have four other Tests next year before the global showpiece with three in a shortened Rugby Championship plus a second Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia.

They finished this year with a 12-2 win-loss record after beating Italy 66-3 in Rome on Saturday.

However, the losses - against world number two Ireland last week and South Africa during the Rugby Championship in September - did not overly concern coach Steve Hansen who saw similarities with the All Blacks' record the year before they won the 2015 World Cup.

"In those tight games, and in the games that we lost, there's been plenty of gifts for us to learn and we'll end up with a winning percentage, I think, that will be exactly the same as that of 2014 of about 85.6 percent or 86.5 percent or something," he said.

"We'll come out of it with a lot of learnings, and few stones in the shoe and under the towel, so guys will be driven to be better next year and that's exactly what we want."

The year before they won the 2011 World Cup, the All Blacks won 12 of their 13 matches, only losing to Australia.

Read more on:    tonga  |  all blacks  |  rugby

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

Following the conclusion of the various end of year tours to Europe, who is your favourite for the 2019 Rugby World Cup title?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.