Shaun Johnson stunner sees Kiwis take emphatic win over Mate Ma'a Tonga

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of this Test match between the Kiwis and Mate Ma'a Tonga, from Mt Smart Stadium.

The Kiwis celebrate Shaun Johnson's try against Tonga Source: Photosport

7:39pm FULLTIME - Kiwis 34 Tonga 14

That's it, the Kiwis have shown some real class tonight, they take a 20 point victory over Mate Ma'a Tonga!

7:38pm: 80 mins - Kiwis 34 Tonga 14

Brandon Smith runs from dummy half and finds Liu who has a crack at the line. Smith has another run, but  gets smashed and loses the ball in the process! Tonga scrum.

7:34pm: 77 mins - Kiwis 34 Tonga 14

TRY!!! Tonga looking to restore some pride, and they make another forage into the Kiwis half. Pangai Junior offloads to Fonua-Blake, who goes close! The ball goes back and Asiata kicks out to Tupou's wing! Tupou is claiming the try, and we'll go to the TMO.

Has Tupou knocked the ball on? It looks like the ball goes back off Watene-Zelezniak, before Tupou grounds the ball. That should be a try. It is. Tonga adding some respectability to the scoreline.

The kick is wide though.

7:29pm: 74 mins - Kiwis 34 Tonga 10

TRY!!! Marshall hits Kenny Bromwich with a no look pass. Asofa-Solomona has a go but is tackled short. Tonga get the turnover though and counter! Tupouniua makes some solid metres before being tackled inside Kiwis territory.

Taumalolo plays the ball, and he puts Taukeiaho through to score for Tonga! Staggs makes the kick for his first Test points.

7:23pm: 69 mins - Kiwis 34 Tonga 4

TRY!!! Too easy for Joseph Manu! He takes the ball from dummy half, and holds off Taukeiaho to crash over for another Kiwis try!

Marsters with the kick, no issue once again. 

7:21pm: 67 mins - Kiwis 28 Tonga 4

The Kiwis run on the last, and Taumalolo absolutely clobbers Marsters! Tonga will restart with a scrum.

7:16pm: 63 mins - Kiwis 28 Tonga 4

TRY!!! Jahrome Hughes makes an instant impact! On in a utility role Hughes has a go from dummy half, and works his way over for his first Kiwis try.

Marsters nails the kick too. The Kiwis are in charge tonight.

7:14pm: 61 mins - Kiwis 22 Tonga 4

Johnson kicks on the Kiwis' last, and Tupou spills it! Liu makes some ground as the Kiwis go past the 10m line. Johnson runs on the fourth and Nikora runs into trouble. Jounson goes wide on the last, and Kenny Bromwich kicks for Maumalo, the ball goes dead though.

7:09pm: 56 mins - Kiwis 22 Tonga 4

Lolohea stabs a kick into the Kiwis' in goal, but Tuivasa-Sheck is there to clean up. He's tackled in goal and we'll have another dropout. How long can the Kiwis keep Tonga out here?

7:07pm: 55 mins - Kiwis 22 Tonga 4

News coming in now that Shaun Johnson's third try has in fact been awarded to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. Tonga with another set inside the Kwiis' half after a knock on from Jahrome Hughes.

7:06pm: 53 mins - Kiwis 22 Tonga 4

The Kiwis give away back-to-back penalties in their own half as Tonga look to get some momentum back. Asiata nearly puts Pangai Junior through. Kata looks to run on the last, finds Pangai Junior, who looks for Asiata - but the ball is spilled. Kiwis survive.

7:03pm: 50 mins - Kiwis 22 Tonga 4

Tonga need some points back. Lolohea kicks on the last and RTS is there to sweep up, but Tonga swarm him and tackle the fullback in goal. Tonga will have a dropout.

6:58pm: 46 mins - Kiwis 22 Tonga 4

TRY!!! Nikora goes up the middle on his debut, before Asofa-Solomona does the same. Brandon Smith goes clean through again! He kicks and RTS is chasing. The ball bounces off the upright and there's a scramble. The Kiwis are claiming a try, the TMO will decide it.

Tatola gets to the ball after the ball hits the pad. Leaving Tuivasa-Sheck and Johnson competing with each other for the try. It looks like Johnson's got there first, and he has a hat-trick! 

Marsters with the kick, and he's nailed this one too!

6:54pm: 43 mins - Kiwis 16 Tonga 4

The Kiwis with the first real chance, before Jesse Browmwich runs at the line on the last and is tackled. Tonga will have a set from their own tryline.

6:51pm: 41 mins - Kiwis 16 Tonga 4

RTS kicks off to get the second half underway as Tonga look to go up the middle straight away.


Tonga are the first side out of the tunnel. They were 17-2 down in the World Cup win two years ago - can they produce a similar comeback tonight?

6:35pm: HALFTIME - Kiwis 16 Tonga 4

TRY!!! Bromwich goes close before the Kiwis go wide. Johnson has the ball in space on the last and he slips right through once again! Carbon copy of his first, and the Kiwis take a healty lead into the break.

Marsters with the kick, but he's hit the upright. That's halftime too.

6:33pm: 39 mins - Kiwis 12 Tonga 4

Manu makes a run from dummy half on the fourth and has a good crack at it. Marshall kicks on the last, and Tupou gathers in-goal. He passes back to Hopoate who drops it. Kiwis will get a dropout.

6:31pm: 38 mins - Kiwis 12 Tonga 4

Penalty to Tonga against Brandon Smith, Lolohea finds touch for the restart. Asiata kicks on the last, and Watene-Zelezniak takes it. Hang on a sec, Manu gives away a penalty?! The right call, Manu stops Tupou from competing in the air. Tonga restart.

Terepo hits the line, and Tonga look to go wide before Marshall takes out Lolohea. Asiata finds Kata out the back on Tonga's left, before Lolohea runs on the last. He throws a pass wide to Fusitu'a who goes for the corner - but Marshall makes the covering tackle out wide! Kiwis ball.

6:25pm: 32 mins - Kiwis 12 Tonga 4

TRY!!! Shaun Johnson take a bow! A brilliant run slices Tonga wide open and Johnson goes over! Marshall finds him with a cutout pass, before Johnson scores at Mt Smart once again! 

Marsters with his second kick of the night, this one from wide on the right, and he's got it! Kiwis lead by eight.

6:19pm: 26 mins - Kiwis 6 Tonga 4

Manu stays down for the Kiwis now. Hopoate's headbutted his knee trying to get out of the in-goal, and it looks like a hyper-extension. He's back on his feet though. 

6:15pm: 24 mins - Kiwis 6 Tonga 4

TRY!!! Tonga kick on the last through Lolohea. RTS fields it, but is forced over the dead ball line to force a dropout. Smith flattens Lolohea on the third, but gives away a penalty in the process.

Another set for Tonga as Fonua-Blake hits the line. Nikora makes a brilliant tackle on Taumalolo on the second. Ma'u goes close on the third, before Fonua-Blake has a go on the fourth. 

Asiata kicks on the last, and there's a scramble! The ball ends up in Kata's hands and he goes over in the corner! The TMO will check this, but on field call is a try. Can't see any reason why the try shouldn't be awarded -  and it is! 

Staggs on kicking duties, this to level scores. He misses though. Kiwis lead by two.

6:09pm: 19 mins - Kiwis 6 Tonga 0

Taumalolo has a crack at the line - and nearly goes over! The Kiwis are called for a high tackle. Tonga restart from the penalty. Taumalolo goes short to Ma'u, tackled short of the line. Taumalolo goes himself now and claims the try! 

We'll go upstairs for this one, referee says no try. Marshall looks like he's held Taumalolo up. No try the call. Tonga have the restart though.

6:06pm: 18 mins - Kiwis 6 Tonga 0

Marshall kicks on the fourth and Tupou takes, Tonga can restart now and Pangai Junior comes up with a huge run! Havili finds some space up the middle as Tonga get to the 20m line. Asiata kicks, and Manu fumbles the return - called for a knock on though. Strange decision as Tonga have a scrum.

6:04pm: 16 mins - Kiwis 6 Tonga 0

Marsters nearly slips through from the restart set, Johnson kicks on the last - Hopoate is there to tidy up at the back. Tupou is smothered in the tackle as Tonga struggle to go forward. Lolohea kicks on the last, but it hits Benji Marshall and falls straight to Kenny Bromwich. The Kiwis restart on the 40m line.

6:01pm: 13 mins - Kiwis 6 Tonga 0

TRY!!! Brandon Smith slips right through the Tongan defence from dummy half - and he scores! The young hooker fools Havili, Taukeiaho and Pangai Junior with a perfect show and go, before going right up the middle to score under the posts!

Marsters on goal kicking duty tonight - the first from right in front. No issue, Kiwis take the lead!

5:58pm: 11 mins - Kiwis 0 Tonga 0

Lolohea goes to the air on Tonga's last, and now the Kiwis can have a run. Marsters has his first touch. Johnson goes to the air on the last, Fusitu'a claims it.

5:56pm: 9 mins - Kiwis 0 Tonga 0

Manu Ma'u is staying down and looks in some serious discomfort, he's back up though. Brandon Smith will restart. The Bromwich brothers combine with the Kiwis close to the line. Brother Jesse runs on the last but is tackled, and now he stays down! It looks like a knee to the back of the head, but he gets back up too. No side giving anything to start. Tonga will restart on their own tryline.

5:52pm: 8 mins - Kiwis 0 Tonga 0

Waerea-Hargreaves loses the ball trying to offload, Tonga scrum. Kata has a run out on the left edge, coming back infield. Ma'a does the same as Tonga work the ball forward. Taumalolo straightens on the third, before Pangai Junior tries to break the line. Tonga reach the 10m line.  Lolohea kicks on the last looking for Fusit'a, but Maumalo gets there first! Kiwis ball.

5:49pm: 5 mins - Kiwis 0 Tonga 0

Marshall kicks on the last for the Kiwis, Hopoate takes it cleanly. Ma'u makes some good metres on the third, before Taumalolo takes some stopping. Asiata kicks on the last and RTS spills it! Tonga will have another set right on the line.

Asiata spills the ball though! Kiwis scrum as they get out of jail.

5:47pm: 3 mins - Kiwis 0 Tonga 0

Johnson kicks on the last and Tupou runs into the Kiwis' defence, finding Kata with the offload. Havili dangerous from dummy half as Tonga take the ball inside the Kiwis half. Asiata kicks on the last, Tuivasa-Sheck claims.

5:45pm: KICK OFF - Kiwis 0 Tonga 0

Tonga kick off, Tuivasa-Sheck takes it and gives Waerea-Hargreaves the first hit up. Taumalolo tackles.


Siliva Havili leads the sipi tau, Solomone Kata stands at the front of the Tongan formation - he needs a big game tonight with his NRL career fading fast. Tonga get into position to face the haka.

Benji Marshall stands at the centre of the Kiwis' formation. Huge emotion from the Kiwis, they are pumped up for this one, Jesse Bromwich leads the charge forward. The pre match challenges are over. Kick off moments away.


Benji Marshall fighting back tears. He probably never thought he'd be back in a Kiwis jersey.


We'll have the national anthems, before the haka against the Tongan sipi tau.


Dallin Watene-Zelezniak leads the Kiwis out of the tunnel, Benji Marshall second out. A healthy cheer for the Kiwis, but very clear who the crowd are behind tonight.


Jason Taumalolo leads the Tongan side out onto the park. Mt Smart erupts, fair to say that there's more Tonga red than Kiwis black and white in the stands tonight.


Kristian Woolf gives his side one last pep talk back in the Tongan changing room, they can make a real statement here tonight, as the Pacific sides bid for more competitive matches against the traditional big nations.


Both sides now just completing their final warm ups. Kick off around 20 minutes away.


Good evening! What a treat we're in for tonight! A sea of red flags have engulfed Mt Smart, plenty of Tongan supporters in attendance tonight.


Two years after arguably the most significant result in the history of Pacific rugby league, the Kiwis host Tonga once again - this time hoping for a different result.

Tonga claimed the last encounter 28-22 in Hamilton at the Rugby League World Cup, although plenty has changed for the Kiwis in that time - now coached by Michael Maguire and looking like a team on the rise.

All eyes will be on Benji Marshall, making his return to Test match football for the first time since 2012, while Tonga will unleash Cowboys utility John Asiata at five-eighth - after a sensational allegiance switch away from Samoa this week. 


Kiwis: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. Ken Maumalo, 3. Esan Marsters, 4. Joseph Manu, 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (c), 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Benji Marshall, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Brandon Smith, 10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 11. Kenny Bromwich, 12. Briton Nikora, 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Jahrome Hughes, 15. Leeson Ah Mau, 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 17. James Fisher-Harris.

Tonga: 1. Will Hopoate, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. David Fusitu'a, 6. John Asiata, 7. Tui Lolohea. 15. Addin Fonua-Blake, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11. Tevita Pangai Junior, 12. Manu Ma'u, 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Manase Fainu, 16. Peni Terepo, 17. Sitili Tupouniua, 19. Tevita Tatola.