New Zealand v Tonga: Milner-Skudder to take up try-scoring slack
Victory over Tonga will see world champions New Zealand finish Pool C as winners, while simultaneously creating history.
The All Blacks equalled their longest winning run at World Cups of 10 matches when defeating Georgia 43-10 last time out and it’s inconceivable that remains the record up against a fragile Tongan outfit.
Odds of 1/500 on the All-Blacks paint that picture extremely clearly. The countries are fairly close together in the expanse of the South Pacific Ocean, but their rugby prowess is poles apart.
The All Blacks have played Tonga just four times, but have scored 279 points to their neighbour’s 26, scoring 39 tries in the process, so more punishment can be expected at St James’ Park.
Even though Steve Hansen’s side ran out more than comfortable winners against Georgia, uncharacteristic handling errors and some profligate kicking by the usually pinpoint Dan Carter prevented a real humbling.
Hansen will expect his side to be more clinical as they head into the quarters and given the enormously one-sided history, New Zealand clearing the 41-point handicap against Mana Otai’s charges looks a choice bet at 10/11.
More value lies in backing New Zealand’s backs to get in on the act however.
Cutting out the aforementioned handling errors should be made easier by the return to the side of centre Ma’a Nonu who will become the sixth All Blacks centurion.
The 100-cap star will pair Conrad Smith in midfield for the 59th time in Tests and Nonu is an 11/1 chance to mark his big occasion with the first try.
Also returning to the lineup to give leading try scorer Julian Savea a well-earned break on the wing is the equally as exhilarating Nehe Milner-Skudder.
The winger ran in two tries to claim the official MOM against Namibia and alongside fellow winger Waisake Naholo, Milner-Skudder looks the pick of Ladbrokes Enhanced Specials on the match at 9/4, out from 6/4, for both men to score a try.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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