So it all kicked off without a hitch at 6.30pm AEST. A not unimpressive opening ceremony with amazing light shows and a chubby Jonah Lomu created the atmosphere before the important stuff and the reason we were all (well, most of us) glued to the television – rugby!
The opening game – New Zealand v Tonga, and I was much more impressed by Tonga than by New Zealand. This is the most points that Tonga has ever scored against NZ. It is only the 2nd try ever scored against NZ and it is their smallest ever losing margin against NZ.
As for the Kiwis? Kahui definitely was the standout player followed by Kaino. Carter was disappointing and SBW was slightly better than him. Playing show pony rugby and being his usual selfish self and throwing away a definite scoring opportunity by trying to go it alone. McCaw was a spectacular cheat again with offside behaviour and lying over the ball in the rucks. But hey, if this is the best that the Kiwis have got, bring it on!
They may have scored 6 tries to 1, but look at some of the poorer match stats:
Turnovers conceded: NZ 16, Tonga 10
Penalties conceded: NZ 14, Tonga 7
Possession: NZ 49%, Tonga 51%
Territory: NZ 46%, Tonga 54%
Of course the Kiwi fans will say that the ABs took their foot off the gas in the 2nd half (2nd half score 12 – 7 to NZ), but why? Why would they ease off, they’ve never done it before? Previously they have thumped Tonga by 84 points and 102 points.
Let’s see how their campaign unfolds…