TV: Live on SkySports Arena HD
Australia vs Tonga
Australia take on Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium Auckland and with so many question marks over Australia and with no much expectation on Tonga, the great news for all Rugby fans is that you can watch all of the action live online via our Rugby League live streaming partners.
Australia are a team in transition and with so many of their World Cup winning superstars now retired, this young team need to start developing their own era of domination but coming into this game on the back of a loss against New Zealand, there are lots of question marks over a number of key players and if they are truly good enough to wear the Green and Gold.
If these players were hoping for a simple game to show their worth, the last game you would want is to play against the passionate Tonga side who enthralled us all so much during the last World Cup.
Tonga came so close to defeating England as they were spurred on by a sold out crowd in Auckland and with this been their first match back at Mount Smart since then, they will be expecting another intimidating atmosphere working for them.
Whilst Tonga cannot match the Aussies for strength in depth, they are a team full of quality and they are all a team full of passion who know that they are not just representing the expat community in New Zealand, but all of their friends and family back home and of course players such as JT and Andrew Fifita have made it well known that they are looking to be a role model for other non-Tier 1 countries.
In pushing England all of the way and especially in defeating New Zealand last year, Tonga have already shown that they can take on the very best on the biggest stage but there is something special about taking on the Kangaroos and if Tonga want to prove they deserve Tier 1 status, a win against the Green and Golds will do just that.
Australia’s’ loss against New Zealand last time out ended a run of 1 straight wins going back to 2016.
They have never lost to Tonga but this is a Tonga side who have lost just 1 of their last 9 matches and who have the confidence of defeating New Zealand last year.
Tyrone Peachey is set for an Australian debut with Luke Keary picking up a knock against the Kiwis.
Tevita Pangai Jr. and Sika Manu come into the forwards for an already massive Tongan pack. David Fusitua and Solomone Kata replace Robert Jennings and the Leeds bound Konrad Hurrell.
In what is the first meeting between these 2 nations, we are all set for a blockbuster match up in front of a sold out crowd on Saturday morning in a game that is incredibly difficult to predict.
It just goes to show how the international game is changing as just a few short years a go a match between these 2 sides would be all set for one way traffic but Tonga now have the quality to match anybody whilst Australia don’t have the same ora with so many superstars gone.
The game will likely be split into 2 with Tonga having control of the forward battle but with the Aussies having control of the game overall thanks to much more experience and quality in their half back pairing.
The Tongans also play off the cuff and go for big hits from minute 1 to minute 80 whilst the Aussies are much more structured and will remain controlled for the whole game. So long as they an prove to be more creative and play for the full 80 minute, the Aussies should pick up the win but if they start as slowly as they did against the Kiwis, the Kangaroos could be set for their biggest ever loss.
Score Prediction Australia by 8