Fans have lashed out at World Rugby following the 102-0 thrashing of Tonga by the All Blacks on Saturday.
New Zealand scored 16 unanswered tries in Auckland including five from winger Will Jordan, which has sparked unrest among fans of the game.
Several spectators took to social media to express their anger at the gulf between the two nations, which is largely put down to the eligibility lawes within the game.
Former Samoa international Dan Leo has been vocal over the issues surrounding player eligibility in the Pacific Island nations, highlighted by the recent release of his documentary Oceans Apart.
Time to stop accepting these games when our full squads are unavailable 🤦🏽♂️🇹🇴
— Daniel Leo (@danleo82) July 3, 2021
Several high profile international players in Europe including Charles Piutau, who have already represented New Zealand earlier in their career, are unable to play for Tonga and other Pacific Islands despite being born there.
More recently Malakai Fekitoa played for Tonga sevens which has given him an opportunity to represent the country in 15s, even though the powerful Wasps centre already has 24 All Blacks caps to his name.
However this latest Test match result has only poured more fuel on the fire, reigniting the debate over player eligibility as many fans believe the likes of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji could be powerhouses in world rugby if they could retain their players.
WR eligibility situation is stuffed up. He wasn’t eligible for Hong Kong when they capped him but now can’t play for Tonga
makes an already lop-sided fixture even worse 🤦🏽♂️
Glad Tonga have lawyers looking at it but won’t help vs ABshttps://t.co/EWKFLhCrsC
— Daniel Leo (@danleo82) July 2, 2021
New Zealand 102 Tonga 0. Sad. Something has to change. Test rugby needs more depth of competitive nations. More must be done to level up the game. Time for an eligibility ‘amnesty’ to aid island teams. Let Charles Piutau and others play for Tonga. Stop protecting the status quo.
— Chris Foy (@FoyChris) July 3, 2021
This scoreline is not something to be celebrated. It shows that something is wrong within the game.
— Rugby and the Law (@rugbyandthelaw) July 3, 2021
What is gained from New Zealand beating Tonga 102 nil. How are we ever gonna see growth in rugby when the big boys are just so far clear of the rest. World rugby needs to get the finger out ASAP as the gaps just getting bigger
— Anton Patrick (@anton_white123) July 3, 2021
The day teams like Tonga, Samoa and Fiji are able to field their best players the entire landscape of professional rugby will shift. When that day comes I will rejoice. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later. #NZLvTGA
— Jordan Patu (@Jordan_Patu) July 3, 2021
How is what the All Blacks just did to Tonga good for rugby? We need to stop the rot and make Pacific rugby stronger. Because we all will benefit from that.
— j. (@blonde_hampton) July 3, 2021
Wonder what kind of a test this would be if Tonga were able to retain their players and not lose them to the @AllBlacks, the @wallabies and European rugby. Quite sad really, given the talent and quality that exists. 🏉 #NZLvTON https://t.co/MIObDrXBU4ADVERTISEMENT
— Hywel Daniel (@HywelDaniel) July 3, 2021
The yawning gap at Mt Smart makes me sad. Rugby needs as many competitive test teams as possible. And Tonga are a proud nation. #NZLvTGA
— Jim Kayes (@JimKayes) July 3, 2021
I love rugby. But what i dont want to see is a tier 1 nation such as the @AllBlacks that has a shit tonne of coin, thrashing a battling rugby nation such as Tonga, struggling for finances and player eligibility.. its a travesty of sport, and makes my stomach churn #NZLvTGA
— Will (@mauri_tau) July 3, 2021
102-0 does nothing for test rugby especially against Tonga’s 2nd XV. But tier one nations only worry about themselves. #NZLvTON
— Neil Fissler (@neilfissler) July 3, 2021