Tonga boosted by settled preparation

Tonga stars Konrad Hurrell and Jason Taumalolo after their World Cup win over Scotland. Credit: Scott Davis. Photo: NRL Photos

HAMILTON, New Zealand – November 10:  7.22am (NRL.com): A week without travel at a World Cup being co-hosted by three different countries is rare, and something Tonga believe will give them an advantage ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Kiwis.

Having played at Waikato Stadium last Saturday, where they beat Samoa 32-18, Tonga have remained in Hamilton all week as they prepare to play New Zealand at the same venue, allowing for an ideal build up for the match which will decide who tops Pool B.

“Our lead in has been perfect, we certainly have had the right preparation and done everything we can to be our best,” Tonga coach Kristian Woolf said.

“We have had a couple of really big weeks so just to settle in Hamilton, things settle down a little bit here, it’s a nice quiet town, it’s really allowed us to refresh a bit.

“We are nice and fresh and ready to go now.”

Woolf also believed his side would benefit from coming off an intense match against Samoa last up, while the Kiwis conversely enjoyed their biggest win in 17 years with a 74-6 romp of Scotland.

 “I do [think that will help], and if I look at our campaign, we played Italy in a trial, got a little bit better against Scotland, then the level went up against Samoa,” Woolf said.

“We are on the right path that’s for sure and I think the more hard games of footy you play the more you get tested. The more you get tested mentally by being under pressure the better you become as a team and the more confidence you take from that.”

Tonga are set to take the field as named, with halfback Ata Hingano overcoming an ankle injury to take full part in Friday’s captain’s run.






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