The defending champions overcame a rather shaky first half to confirm their place in the quarter final as they knock their opponents Tonga out of the tournament.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
New Zealand overcame Tonga by a 47-9 margin at St. James Park in Newcastle last night to seal their place in the last 8 of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. It was also a momentous occasion for New Zealand star center Ma’ Allan Nonu who was celebrating his 100th test appearance for the All Blacks and marked the occasion with a splendid try.
The first half of the game was not all rosy for the defending champions as despite scoring two tries from Smith and Woodcock, Kieran Read who was stand in captain for Jack Warner was given a yellow card for collapsing a maul just before half time. However, Tonga could not capitalize on the advantage as the New Zealand defense held resolute until halftime as they went into the break leading by a 14-3 margin.
New Zealand turned up the heat in the second half as Nehe Milner Skudder got onto the scoresheet twice, first in the 52nd minute before getting another in the 58th minute, both tries converted by the ever effective Daniel Carter. Williams added a try 8 minutes later before Tonga’s troubles were further compounded with a yellow card for PM Ngauamo 10 minutes from time. New Zealand immediately capitalized on the fatal error with a try for Cane before Ma’ Allan Nonu capped his special day with a try in the left corner to seal the victory for the All Blacks.
Tonga’s players gave their fans a lap of honor after their exit from the group while Ma’a Nonu was carried off the pitch by his teammates in acknowledgement of his great feat.