Wed, Nov 8, 3:43pm by Staff Writer
Week 3 of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup will see the Pool stages come to a close. With places in the Quarter Finals still up for grabs there should be a number of great games. One , however, stands out for a number of reasons.
New Zealand v Tonga, Saturday 11th November 2017, 3pm (AEDT), Hamilton
The climax of Pool B has been pencilled in as one of the stand out games of the tournament from the outset. Following Jason Taumalolo’s change of allegiance from the Kiwis to Tonga just before the World Cup, the tension has been slowly bubbling away. Taumalolo will face his old teammates, some of whom weren’t exactly complimentary with his decision to switch. On top of that both sides enter this match with a 100% winning record meaning the winner of Saturday’s game will top the Pool and avoid Australia until the World Cup Final stage.
Tonga have named a side with only one change from their win over Samoa. Solomone Kata has been ruled out with the centre’s tournament over due to injury. His loss will be felt by the Tongans, but they will believe that they can record an historic victory. They are up against though priced at $3.42. Their victory last week against Samoa highlighted the threats that they have across the field not just in their mammoth sized forward pack. If they can harness the emotion of the contest, they stand a chance at causing a major upset.
Having cruised through their opening two World Cup matches, New Zealand could be in for a shock when they take on Tonga if their preparations are not correct. This will be the first true test for the Kiwis as they look to ensure they top the Pool and continue their winning form. Kodi Nikorima starts at five-eight for them at the expense of Te Maire Martin despite him scoring a hattrick in the win over Scotland. The Kiwis are favourites heading into the clash priced at $1.32.
After two big wins over Samoa and Scotland, a 13+ point margin for New Zealand stands as favourite for the clash with Tonga standing at $2.25. Tonga’s best hope is to grind out a hard-won victory of 1-12 points at $4.50 with the same margin for Kiwis at $3.10. All hope of a big Tongan win appears a long shot at $10.
Kiwi Jordan Rapana stands at $8 to be the first try scorer of the match, with him teammates Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak both at $10. David Fusitu’a tops the prices for Tonga whilst what a moment it would be if Jason Taumalolo opening the scoring at $26. Even if he crossed the tryline to score at any time priced at $4.33 it would add the magic of this already special Rugby League World Cup.
Bet of the Match: New Zealand to Win by 1-12 points at $3.10
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