League expert Andrew Alderson rates the best and worst performers in Tonga's 28-22 win over the Kiwis.


1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 8

Can carve through defences like Dad's knife on Christmas ham. 72nd min blinder kept Kiwis alive at 22-24.

2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 7
Sidestepped, swerved and weaved. Constant appetite to engage. Two defensive calamities on Fusitu'a in 47th and 78th.


3. Dean Whare - 7
Perfect draw and feed to Watene-Zelezniak to set up opening try. Tenacious tackle of Hurrell in 47th min.

4. Brad Takairangi - 8
Gibraltar-like on right flank with no-look offload to create space for Rapana to score and his feed to Tuivasa-Sheck.

5. Jordan Rapana - 7
Bungled pass in 13th min from a slick build-up. Redeemed himself with pinpoint finish in 29th min. Quality jinking.

6. Kodi Nikorima - 5
Missed tackle which lead to Hopoate being set free to create 22-16 lead. Is any feeling in football worse than snatching air?

7. Shaun Johnson - 6
Slick control directing attack in 1st half to 16-2 lead. Struggled to bring the same verve in 2nd as Tonga wised up.

8. Martin Taupau - 8
A boa constrictor on defence, swallowing tacklers at most opportunities. A bruising gatekeeper.

9. Thomas Leuluai - 6
Tough tackling and steady distribution but Kiwis needed Thomas Edison to invent something this time.

10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves - 7
Offered plenty of commitment but up against a defence that refused to back down in the face of adversity.

11. Simon Mannering - 7
Hot kumara oopsy in 57th and couldn't pin Hurrell backflip in 59th. Otherwise still offered doberman-like patrol.

12. Joseph Tapine - 7
Strong from the moment he made 1st tackle. Elusive enough that if Dancing With The Stars returns, he'd be a shoo-in.

13. Adam Blair - 7
Always keen to tackle, particularly Taumalolo. Looked like he was trying to motivate zombies as Tonga closed in.

14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona - 7
15. Russell Packer - 6
16. Isaac Liu - 6
17. Danny Levi - 7


1. Will Hopoate - 7

Right man, right place, right time to give Tonga a 24-16 buffer. Scythed to the line with a perfect finish. Tidy at back.

2. Daniel Tupou - 7
Elusiveness in 9th min as he took a high ball and evaded tacklers. Stretched out in 36th min for try... but no dice.

18. Mahe Fonua - 7
Looked like a heavy metal frontman head-banging every time he got a touch. Oozed commitment.

4. Konrad Hurrell - 8
Power is still in the legs and his temerity to unleash backflip passes for Fusitu'a blew the match open.

5. David Fusitua - 8
Missed tackle which led to opening try but sublime from there with aerial work and finishing for a hat-trick.

6. Tui Lolohea - 8
Tenacious tackling and a superb decision to pivot and explore right edge to set-up Fusitu'a's 2nd try. Got the crucial intercept.

7. Ata Hingano - 7
A composed display behind a team of bulldozers. Passing finesse coaxed runners into gaining metres.

8. Andrew Fifita - 8
Spilt ball in 3rd min but made formidable caterpillar tracks after that. Aggression got job done.

9. Sione Katoa - 6
Flaccid pass in 12th min missed opportunity. Hesistancy at dummy-half on occasion but eventually got flowing.

10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho - 7
Drilled first points with penalty but showed slick footwork pacing around the park. Vast array of skills.

11. Manu Ma'u - 7
No relenting in the second row. Maintained his side's momentum as they barrelled to a memorable victory.

12. Sika Manu - 7
Could be forgiven if you saw his chest first walking round corners for a few days. A proud moment for the skipper.

13. Jason Taumalolo - 8
Must be hard trying to get through a game with tacklers set to pounce on a four-man roster. Resilient throughout.

14. Siliva Havili - 7
16. Peni Terepo - 7
17. Ben Murdoch-Masila - 7
21. Tevita Pangai Junior - 7