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NZ stunned as RLWC 2017 continues to surprise

Posted on 20/11 by Joe Gann

NZ stunned as RLWC 2017 continues to surprise

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For the second time in as many weeks, the reputation of New Zealand rugby league has been dealt an embarrassing blow on the world stage.

Following on from the momentous 28-22 victory by fellow tier two nation Tonga in the final game of Pool B, Fiji helped heap more misery on the Kiwis by unceremoniously dumping them out of the tournament on their own soil.

This event has waited 22 years for a tier two side to beat a tier one nation, and just a week for the feat to be replicated.

That incredible upset win by Tonga was possibly even eclipsed by the accomplishment of a Fijian side that fully deserves their place in the final four. Still suffering from the after-effects of that extraordinary Tongan success, the New Zealanders were a shadow of their former selves, producing an error-strewn display that significantly contributed to their own downfall.

Their blunt attack was contained by some resolute defence from the Fijians as the game ended as only the second match in competition history to finish tryless. Despite being the lowest scoring match of the tournament so far, there was no lack of drama as the Bati pulled off the nail-biting win that sets up their third straight semi-final appearance.

The victory helped set up a daunting clash with familiar foes Australia in Brisbane on Friday night; the hosts handed out heavy defeats in 2008 and 2013 and Fiji will be desperate to avoid a repeat here.

The Kangaroos are in imperious form, and eased to a 46-0 win over Samoa in their quarter-final tie; the Fijians are $10.00 to pull off what would be an even bigger sensation and upset the overwhelming tournament favourites.

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