• Times Tough in Tonga and Only Getting Tougher

    The All Blacks have the Haka. The team from Tonga have the Sipi Tau and in the CBD of Melbourne, the Wallabies do the polka.

    Tonga has the tall task of beating New Zealand in Hamilton.

    Sixth time’s a charm?

    The previous five Test between the two island countries of the Pacific Ocean have all gone to the All Blacks.

    How much longer Tonga remains above the water is yet to be determined, but it is easy to say that New Zealand will have its way in what is being billed, somewhat unimaginatively, as David vs Goliath.

    It might be more interesting to speculate on who will run out for the All Blacks, as it is safe to conclude that Steve Hansen does not want to step down after the 2019 Rugby World Cup with the dubious distinction of having been the one to oversee New Zealand beaten by Tonga.

    At the same time, Hansen dare not risk the fate of having one of his key men hurt, so it would seem that David has a chance until Goliath makes his appearance, even if Goliath sends in Goliath Jr. as a proxy.

    Tonga, for whatever reason, has a berth in the Rugby World Cup, so perhaps getting in is on a subscription basis and along with being in a tough pool that includes England, Argentina, France and the U.S., signing up for World Cup might have provided them with a 90-day free trial of Netflix.

    Tonga have drawn England for their first match in Japan on September 22, so the next several weeks will see plenty of Tonga sinking and very little of Tonga swimming.

    At the time of this writing, there are three days until Tonga and New Zealand square off. Punters with a taste for masochism could back Tonga for $67, but bookmakers have yet to put a number next to New Zealand.

    Punters could back England for $1.02 to beat Italy or get that same price for Australian to beat Samoa, which leads us to think that the sensible quote for New Zealand against Tonga would be something like $0.75.