Fiji Bati create double heartache for Kiwis as NZ are knocked out of RLWC

The Kiwis have been knocked out of the Rugby League World Cup after another heartbreaking loss, going down to Fiji Bati 4-2 at Westpac Stadium in Wellington tonight.


78 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 4

GOAL-LINE DROPOUT! Shaun Johnson opts to kick on the third tackle and Marcelo Montoya pounces on the ball and runs over the dead ball line.

77 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 4

KNOCK ON! A critical error from Fiji's skipper Kevin Naiqama as he spills the ball on his own 40m line. This will be NZ's final chance to score or earn a penalty for a chance to level the scores.

74 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 4

GOAL-LINE DROPOUT! The Kiwis are under real pressure now as Fiji force a goal line dropout after a great bomb from Jarryd Hayne and tackle from Suliasi Vunivalu on Kiwis winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

70 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 4

SCRUM! After a surging run from injured Kiwis second rower Joseph Tapine, the ref rules Fiji lost the ball, a big call as we go into the final 10 minutes of the game.

68 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 4

PENALTY! A big call from the officials saying the Kiwis were offside, overturning his original call of a line-dropout for Fiji.

62 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 4

TWO! Fiji take the lead through the boot of Apisai Koroisau - the Kiwis were penalised for being offside.

60 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 2

MISTAKE! Roger Tuivasa-Sheck fumbles the ball and Fiji now have an attacking scrum deep inside NZ's half.

58 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 2

NO TRY! Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looked to be through a massive gap and looked like he could have got to the try-line after a great set-play from the Kiwis - but he slips over from 10m out.

55 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 2

MISTAKE! Both teams guilty of trying to force the pass and create some second phase play. The Kiwis lose the ball after a loose carry from Martin Taupau - Fiji have a scrum just on their own 40m line.

52 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 2

Akuila Uate makes a perfect read, pouncing on a grubber kick from Shaun Johnson. Looked as though the Kiwis were close to scoring the first four-pointer of the match. But a great grab and run from Uate gets Fiji out of trouble.

47 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 2

SIN BIN! Jordan Rapana has been sent to the bin for a professional foul - slowing down the play and failing to get off Suliasi Vunivalu. Fiji made an excellent break through Kevin Naiqama and Suliasi Vunivalu - but the Kiwis are forced to give away a penalty as Fiji looked hot on attack.

44 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 2

TWO! Shaun Johnson levels the scores with a successful penalty kick at goal after the Fijians are penalised for back-chatting the referee.

42 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

A good first set from the Kiwis led by their big forwards, Shaun Johnson's towering kick on the last was well chased by Roger-Tuivasa-Sheck and Fiji struggle to make metres out of their own half.

40 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

And we are back underway with Fiji kicking off to the Kiwis!


40 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

Fiji's star winger Suliasi Vunivalu comes up with a great play, tackling Kiwis' half Te Maire Martin just as it looked the Kiwis looked to be conjuring up a try. 

38 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

Another chance goes begging for Fiji as Suliasi Vunivalu knocks the ball on deep inside NZ's half.

37 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

DEFENCE! Fiji looked close to scoring, but the touch judge ruled Jarryd Hayne's pass to Kevin Naiqama to have gone forward.

34 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

Bad news for the Kiwis as Joseph Tapine leaves the field with a knee injury. Fiji continue to cause the Kiwis headaches starving the hosts of possession.

31 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

The Kiwis are beginning to tire with the Fijians having all the possession in the first half.

26 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

After relentless pressure from the Fijians the Kiwis finally have possession of the ball. They make some solid metres into Fiji's half - but they make a meal of the last play in the set, opting to run it. Fiji's defence reads it and tackle Brad Takairangi on their own 30 metre line.

23 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

DEFENCE! The Kiwis again repel another Fijian attack as Kiwis skipper Adam Blair manages to wrap Apisai Koroisau on the final tackle. Joseph Tapine looks to be ok after suffering a slight injury to his right knee while making a tackle on Fijian centre Akuila Uate.

19 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

New Zealand Kiwis fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looks to break the tackle of Tongan interchange Peni Terepo during the Rugby League World Cup 2017 Pool B match between New Zealand Kiwis and Tonga played at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand on Saturday 11 November  2017.  

Copyright photo: © Bruce Lim /
New Zealand Kiwis fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck looks to break the tackle of Tongan interchange Peni Terepo during the Rugby League World Cup 2017 Pool B match between New Zealand Kiwis and Tonga played at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton. Source: Photosport

MISTAKE! The Kiwis make another crucial error spilling the ball just as they make into Fiji's half.

18 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

NO TRY! The Kiwis survive another Fijian onslaught as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Brad Takairangi tackle Marcelo Montoya into touch. Fiji unlucky not to score - Kiwis showing great defence after playing the majority of the match early inside their own half.

14 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2

TWO! Apisai Koroisau nails an easy penalty kick to give Fiji the lead. 

11 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 0

MISTAKE! Dallin Watene-Zelezniak spills the ball on the first tackle and Fiji have an attacking scrum on NZ's 10 metre line.

10 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 0

The Kiwis march their way up field and the NZ forwards get their side on the front foot with some fast play of the balls. Shaun Johnson puts in a clever grubber but the Fijians pounce on the ball and work their way up the pitch.

8 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 0

MISTAKE! Fiji looking dangerous on attack in the opening 10 minutes, after the Kiwis cough up the footy the Fijians knock the ball on just inside NZ's 30m line.

5 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 0

NO TRY! The Kiwis' scramble defence saves them from leaking the first points of the match. Fiji's second rower Brayden Williame made a great surge and stepped through the Kiwis defence but lost control of the ball over the try-line. 

3 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 0

A solid opening set from both teams, Shaun Johnson puts in a brilliant floating bomb - but Kevin Naiqama makes and excellent take and gets Fiji out of trouble.


And we are off! Shaun Johnson kicks off for NZ towards the Fijians.


The Kiwis have their backs against the wall and will be still hurting after their dramatic 28-22 loss to Mate Ma'a Tonga last week in Hamilton.

They will be out to prove a point against the unbeaten Fiji Bati in Wellington tonight.

New Zealand have made two changes in their starting team with Te Maire Martin given the nod to start over Kodi Nikorima, Nikorima has been shifted to the bench and Danny Levi starts at hooker.

Fiji have attacking weapons right across the park with Jarryd Hayne starting again in the halves. Suliasi Vunivalu and captain Kevin Naiqama have had a strong campaign thus far in the RLWC for Fiji.

The winner of tonight's match will face off against defending champions the Australian Kangaroos at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane next Friday.

New Zealand: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Brad Takairangi, Jordan Rapana, Te Maire Martin, Shaun Johnson, Martin Taupau, Danny Levi, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Simon Mannering, Joseph Tapine, Adam Blair (c).

Interchange: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Russell Packer, Isaac Liu, Kodi Nikorima.

Fiji: Kevin Naiqama (c), Suliasi Vunivalu, Taane Milne, Akuila Uate, Marcelo Montoya, Jarryd Hayne, Henry Raiwalui, Ashton Sims, Apisai Koroisau, Eloni Vunakece, Viliame Kikau, Brayden Williame, Tui Kamikamica.

Interchange: Joe Lovodua, Jacob Saifiti, Junior Roqica, Ben Nakubuwai.

23 mins - KIWIS 0 FIJI 2
52 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 2
52 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 2
62 mins - KIWIS 2 FIJI 4



Ticket sales a struggle for Auckland trans-Tasman league clash

An embarrassing outcome at the turnstiles looms for New Zealand, prompting coach Michael Maguire to urge Kiwi rugby league fans to support their home team.

Two days out from the trans-Tasman Test in Auckland, the New Zealand Rugby League is anticipating a crowd of about 15,000 at Mt Smart Stadium.

The hastily arranged Test between the Kangaroos and Tonga a week later is expected to be sold out at the same venue, which can hold just under 26,000 fans.

Venue officials haven't responded to AAP's request for official sale figures but NZRL chief executive Greg Peters admitted the Kiwis Test was likely to attract a considerably smaller crowd, despite it being part of a trans-Tasman triple- header involving women's and junior internationals.

"We're hoping to get a crowd of around 15,000 at the end of the day but if we get three wins on the weekend people will say 'I wish I was there watching that," Peters told Radio Sport.

"I don't think it has quite sold out the following week."

Boosted by New Zealand and Australian NRL stars, Mate Ma'a Tonga provided the fairytale story of last year's World Cup, attracting massive crowds on their way to a semi-final loss to England.

An indication that they would be popular again next week came at an official "welcome" in South Auckland on Wednesday night, when about 4000 flag-waving supporters enthusiastically greeted Sika Manu's team.

Maguire implored Kiwi supporters to make their presence felt as he moulds a new- look team seeking to put last year's World Cup disaster behind them.

The hosts under former coach David Kidwell were beaten by Tonga in pool play in Hamilton and were eliminated in a shock quarter-final loss to Fiji in Wellington.

"Oh look, I think we should get behind the team," Maguire said.

"It's a new beginning to where we're going. I think the supporters play a big part in what makes a team. If people get behind that, they're going to be in for a really good surprise over where we're going as a group."

Peters said New Zealand fans in their Auckland heartland are getting used to the idea of supporting their team again.

"We haven't had games regularly enough at our home. Mt Smart is the home of rugby league in New Zealand and we need to start to rebuild that," he said.

"We took a big hit last year and that's why I'm calling it a new era and a rebuild of the faith in the black and white shirt at the senior level particularly."

New Zealand will host Tonga next year in a mid-season Test which replaces the failed experiment of playing England in Denver.

The NZRL is still to be financially compensated for this year's Denver fixture, which was to be the first of a three-year agreement.

The Kiwis are playing the Kangaroos in a trans-Tasman triple-header this Saturday in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: Mate Ma’a Tonga stars slap Mick Potter with jandals in hilarious initiation ritual

New Mate Ma'a Tonga assistant coach Mick Potter got a rude introduction to his new side's team culture, being slapped with jandals by the team by way of initiation.

Potter, who previously coached Fiji Bati to a stunning World Cup victory over the Kiwis at last year's World Cup, joined Kristian Woolf's coaching set-up recently.

As the team trained in Hamilton, he was given a warm welcome, despite appearances to the contrary.

The Tongans take on Australia in Auckland next weekend. 

Team spirit in the Tongan camp is sky high, as the team welcomes their new assistant coach into the fold. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch as junior Tongan league players welcome Mate Ma’a Tonga stars with rousing sipi tau

Junior Tongan league players gave the Mate Ma’a Tonga stars a rousing welcome, clearly delighting the island kingdom's national team as they arrived in Auckland.

The Tongan Hakula players performed an earth-shattering sipi tau for their heroes as they arrived in Manukau last night ahead of next week's clash with the Kangaroos in Auckland.

The Mate Ma’a Tonga players' phone cameras were held high to capture the special moment as the young players gave the Tongan haka their all.

Mate Ma’a Tonga meet Australia in an historic Test at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday next week. 

More vision from Mate Ma'a Tonga's arrival in Auckland yesterday

Tevita Pangai made sure team spirit was high as Tonga arrived in Auckland yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS

Hurell and teammate Jason Taumalolo joined fans dancing during their welcome at Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau. Source: 1 NEWS

Despite their flight being delayed a few hours from Sydney the Tongan fans showed their support at Vodafone Events centre in Manukau. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland welcome The Tongan Hakula players delivered an earth-shattering sipi tau for their heroes in Auckland yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS

Watch: Jason Taumalolo, Mate Ma'a Tonga lose it as Andrew Fifita gets pranked

Team spirit was in plentiful supply as Mate Ma'a Tonga arrived in Auckland last night, as Andrew Fifita found himself on the receiving end of a classic childhood prank.

As Tonga arrived ahead of next week's clash with the Kangaroos in Auckland, swarms of fans turned out to welcome their side at a special event in Manukau.

Star forwards Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita spoke to media, however, Tevita Pangai Jr managed to leave Fifita's face as red as Tonga's shirt - pulling his pants down in front of the camera.

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"That's just how we are," Pangai Jr said.

"We like to have fun, mock each other - it's good."

Tevita Pangai made sure team spirit was high as Tonga arrived in Auckland yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS