8:40 am on 9 September 2011

Tonga have the honour of playing the opening match of the 2011 tournament against the All Blacks at Eden Park.

While the homeside will be overwhelming favourites for the match, the Tongans will get plenty of support from the local Island community.

The side is captained by France-based loosie Finau Maka and coached by his brother Isitolo Maka.

Former captain Nili Latu, who led Tonga at the 2007 tournament, was suprisingly omitted, which led to union chairman Bob Tuckey resigning.

The squad includes a number of European based players along with New Zealand based Taniela Moa and Fetu'u Vainikolo.

They played in the 1987, 1995, 1999 and 2003 tournaments, before their best result in 2007 with wins over USA and Samoa and two close matches against England and South Africa.

The Tongan Rugby team is known as Ikale Tahi (''Sea Eagles'') and fans at the opening match can expect the Sipi Tau (Tongan war dance) in response to the haka.

Tonga also meet France, Canada and Japan in group A.