Tonga shock Kiwis with famous World Cup win

Tongan fans in Hamilton for their team's historic win over the Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup

Tongan fans in Hamilton for their team's historic win over the Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup

The Pacific Islanders are now likely to face Lebanon in the quarter-finals, unless France can pull off a shock victory over England on Sunday, while New Zealand finished second in the group and will take on Fiji in the knockout stages. And the Australia-England opener was the fifth most watched Rugby League match of the year after the three State of Origin games and the NRL Grand Final.

"But hey, if the Pacific Island teams get to choose their strongest teams and we can create an worldwide game where (we're) not having to rely on England or Australia to get tournaments going, we could play Tonga in a three-match series here or Samoa, or a tri-series".

"It does not matter really, it is going to be a massive challenge but it is what you want to be here for", Assistant coach Denis Betts said.

"That's why we're ecstatic and we're just going insane and so overwhelmed".

Eligibility rules would be similar to the World Cup, freeing up the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita to continue their journey with Tonga.

Beyond that, today, Tonga gave the development of the game beyond the traditional "big three" of Australia, New Zealand and England a feeling of legitimate credibility.

"Whoever you come up against will be real tough".

Any questions over Tonga's ability to match it with the heavyweight nations were quashed by their impressive 28-22 win over New Zealand in Hamilton.

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"But the challenge that we are facing now is that we have to stick together and play well and play with a lot of pride there".

"They are a good side and they have shown that in this competition". "Right now it is do or die for us".

The pivotal moment came on the hour when Lolohea went over for an interception try and three minutes later Warrington-bound forward Ben Murdoch-Masila broke clear to get full-back Will Hopoate over.

"I've played it before".

"They've never won against New Zealand", she said.

"I think it is very important", Bromwich said of the week's preparation ahead of Saturday's game in Wellington. Last week I was at fullback and I had a little stint at hooker.

Rugby League World Cup 2017 Chief Executive Andrew Hill declared the stage is set for an enthralling finals series after three weeks of pool matches which have captured the imagination of millions of fans around the globe and showcased the development of the global game.

"If you nail your hat to being a fullback there is a chance you might not be involved in the squad". I am happy to play wherever. At club level it is good to have a position nailed down.

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