The Nrl may have had a week off, but what a week of Rugby League we had. With so much to choose from it really is hard to pick the best game of the international round. New Zealand put in a dominant win over Tonga, Somoa got the win over the cook islands, PNG getting a great upset over Fiji and Don't forget the womans games either.
Upon turning on the Kiwis V Tonga womans game, there was shock on my face. The large crown and it surely had to be 80% Tongan aswell. They really do bring something to the game with their fans; Hard to argue with, but they are the best fans in the game. The Result was a bit win to the Kiwi Ferns wining 50-12 but Tonga could be proud of their fight. It started with a couple of easy tries on the wings to the kiwis and it looked like it could get ugly but as the game went on Tonga built more and more into it. The biggest cheer of the game came when Tonga got their first through Polata who had a great game racking up 96 metres from 11 runs while breaking 3 tackles. Look forward to more games between these two proud league nations.
Following on from a great Womans match it was time for the men and it did not dissapoint. (unless you are a Tonga fan). The kiwis looked great as they went on to win 26-6. A very important result with the world cup coming up this year and not wanting a repeat of the last world cup. Joey Manu being the stand out in the game running for a massive 404 run metres. The kiwi defense looked sound and was only really only put under pressure after their own mistakes. I think Tonga will get a few more players and a likely semi finals appearance for Tonga is likely at the world cup.
The upset of the weekend has to go to PNG on their massive win over Fiji. In David Meads' last game for the Kumuls the team did him proud as he had another good game for the PNG side and getting a good try in the 66th minute. Pre-game Fiji were heavy favourites and with Naiqama striking first for the Fiji team it looked like it might go their way. PNG the always proud Rugby League Nation faught hard hard heading into the break in front. It was a free flowing game making a good watch for any fan of the game. PNG taking the win 24-14. PNG will be hoping they can stick with this form and that they can make Meads' reconsider as they head to the world cup in October.
With all the international Rugby League on it makes me excited and hopeful for some international action for Japan in the autumn as we look to push for a place in the 2025 World cup ourselves ( as big a task as that may seem). We are also excited for the next Kaminari game v Kamesenryu on July 10th, 17:30 local time KO at Amagasaki Baycom Stadium. Come On Kaminari!!!