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Saturday Jul 3, 2021

All Blacks thrashing of Tonga raises further eligibility questions among fans

Fans have lashed out at World Rugby following the 102-0 thrashing of Tonga by the All Blacks on Saturday.

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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.

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.

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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.

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