Fast-finishing Tonga upset Kiwis in RLWC

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf says his side is good enough to win the entire World Cup after their historic 28-22 upset of New Zealand on Saturday.

The Tongans became the first ever tier-two rugby league nation to beat a tier-one nation after coming back from a 16-2 halftime deficit.

In what is an extraordinary achievement for a side made up mostly of Australian and Kiwi-born players, Tonga have now topped Pool B ahead of the Kiwis and will now almost certainly evade Cup favourites Australia until the final.

The Kiwis will likely play the Kangaroos in the semi-finals instead.

Woolf was ecstatic with his players' efforts in Hamilton, saying they'd kept calm in crucial moments and were more than capable of going all the way.

"I'm not going to sit here and say no," Woolf said when asked if his side could go on and lift the World Cup trophy on December 2 in Brisbane.

"What I do know is that we've got a group of good blokes here - a lot of people have singled out the guys who have been names in the NRL and we do have a number of those, but there's a lot of guys there really playing to their potential.

"That's a sign of a group of men who want to play for each other and together, (and) they're obviously playing for something they really believe in."

Yet as much as the Tongans produced the goods in the second stanza, only the Kiwis can explain their 20-minute collapse at the start of the half.

With a safe lead and clinical first-half performance under their belt, they appeared to wilt in defence, making poor decisions and giving up penalties.

David Fusitu'a bagged two quick tries on the right edge, dominating counterpart Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, before Tuimoala Lolohea snared an intercept try.

Will Hopoate then set the cat among the pigeons with a 65th-minute breakaway try, and while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck gave the Kiwis some hope, his Warriors teammate Fusitu'a hit back once again to give Tonga the victory.

"That's what we want for international footy - yes, it happened to be (us), but we're on this path and we're committed," Kiwis coach David Kidwell said.

"Full credit to Tonga, they forced us into not playing (our) style. "We still believe in this camp, in what we've built here."