'Are you proud World Rugby?': Tonga's pummelling unhealthy
Missing many European players unable to get into New Zealand and through quarantine in time, the Tongan side were forced to call upon a handful of players who had yet to play any professional rugby.
The contest was always going to be a lopsided one, but now more than ever it seems that fans are fed up with the current system that weakens the talent pool available for the Pacific Island teams.
One fan took aim at Bill Beaumont and World Rugby, asking them if they are ‘proud’ of this result.
He wrote: “You let teams around the world pilfer the Pacific Islands best players, don’t allow them to change residency and then reduce a proud nation like Tonga to a mauling.”
Many fans questioned whether either nation got anything from the match, which was described as a ‘massive self-aggrandisement’ for New Zealand Rugby and ‘horrible’ for the Pacific Islands, the game, and everyone involved.
That #NZLvTON match was USA invading Grenada. What actual benefit did either side get from it? Just massive self-aggrandisement exercise for NZ Rugby. ?Ikale Tahi And all Pacific teams deserve actual support.
— rggrblggr (@ruggerblogger) July 3, 2021
You let teams around the world pilfer the Pacific Islands best players, don’t allow them to change their residency and then reduce a proud nation like #Tonga to a mauling.
It’s quite frankly embarrassing. #NZLvTON
— James Roycroft-Davis (@jroycroft_davis) July 3, 2021
Poor Tonga, did this match really benefit either nation? #NZLvTON ?
— Dan Ley (@danley86) July 3, 2021
102-0 does nothing for test rugby especially against Tonga’s 2nd XV. But tier one nations only worry about themselves. #NZLvTON
— Neil Fissler (@neilfissler) July 3, 2021
— Keba Mothoagae (@LockedDownKeba) July 3, 2021
New Zealand 102-0 Tonga. Horrible for Tonga, horrible for the Pacific Islands, horrible for rugby and generally for everyone involved. No one wants to see scorelines like that. A meaningless, sad, sorry, pointless 80 minute game. Real shame. #NZLvTON
— James Laurence (@_jameslt) July 3, 2021
One fan detailed a potential Tongan XV based on heritage and birthright that contained a host of stars playing for other nations that illustrated how competitive Tonga could potentially be.
Malakai Fekitoa, who is in the process of switching his eligibility to Tonga, was also named alongside Charles Piutau who has also been trying to represent Tonga.
Such a quality side would likely have drawn a big crowd to Mt Smart, with last night’s crowd failing to sellout to watch the All blacks play the Ikale Tahi.
How different would this game be if this was the Tongan team.
1. M. VUNIPOLA
2. T. LATU
3. T. TUPOU
4. S. TIMANI
5. V. FIFITA
6. A. MAFI
7. S. FRIZELL
8. B. VUNIPOLA
9. A. PULU
10. R. MOUNGA
11. L. FAINGA'ANUKU
12. N. LUAMAPE
13. M. FEKITOA
14. C. PIATAU
15. D. HAVILI#NZLvTGA
— CarrickTalksRugby (@TalksRugby) July 3, 2021
Former All Black centre Fekitoa shared a message to his fellow Tongan compatriots, congratulating the All Blacks but stating they will rebuild and ‘be ready’ for 2023. He asked the supporters of Tongan Rugby to keep the faith.
Congratulations to the @AllBlacks brothers. Class performance ?? To my Tongan brothers. M?l? ng?ue ??We will rebuild and ready by 2023. And to all Tongans around the world. Keep the faith. We need your support ??? @officialTongaRU ??
— Malakai Fekitoa (@MalakaiFekitoa) July 3, 2021
New Zealand Rugby were in a difficult position to secure a competitive opponent for this July window, with the British & Irish Lions touring South Africa, the home nations had their resources drained.
The Pacific Island teams had to wait for European players to become available, but quarantine restrictions coming into New Zealand also added extended delays for a squad to get together.
However, despite the current challenges, the systemic imbalances in the global game have long been a problem which fans are increasingly demanding change for.
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