OPINION: The finger-pointing will begin as the game digests another grim night for Pacific Islands rugby, but the Chiefs No 12 was highly promising.

OPINION: The finger-pointing will be swift but predictable as the international game wrestles with another sad evening for Pacific Islands rugby.
Seventeen years after the Pacific Islanders team pushed the All Blacks in Auckland – and their Tongan captain Inoke Afeaki pleaded for the game to build on that memorable performance – Tonga were demolished 102-0 at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.
It will be Covids fault, for depriving Tonga of European-based stars. It will be the fault of those dastardly northern hemisphere clubs, for preventing Tongan players from coming back to play. It will be New Zealand Rugbys fault, for picking players such as Vaea Fifita and Shannon Frizell.
Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.
All Blacks debutant Quinn Tupaea carries through the traffic against Tonga on Saturday.
It will be World Rugbys fault, for not letting players such as Ngani Laumape and Charles Piutau play for Tonga after their All Blacks career ends. And it will be Japans fault, for taking so many young Tongan players and converting them into Brave Blossoms.
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But lets all take a look in mirror. How easy we take the moral high ground when it suits us, when the reality is that Pacific Island talent has provided us all with moments of joy while playing for the teams we support. Admit it, the current inequality in the system quietly suits us.
Yet, while the depleted Tongans were clearly fighting out of their division on Saturday, it was still possible to take some enjoyment out of young All Blacks debutant Quinn Tupaea.
He looked completely at ease. In the first half he took a quick lineout that led to a try, and pushed a more experienced player, Akira Ioane, to get into position close to the ruck.
His carries were strong and direct, while his catch-pass was as good as anyone on the paddock.
The All Blacks will be kidding themselves if they do not heavily invest in the Waikato man, or once again see the indispensability of a No 12 who has a bit of power about him.
Indeed, in the first game of the double-header, the Mori All Blacks v Manu Samoa, the best player on the paddock was another tough No 12 who straightened the line.
Alex Nankivell was outstanding for the Mori All Blacks because he understood when the time was right to cut inside and run from north to south.
Tupaea has the same instinct, but probably has a bit more explosiveness than his fellow Chief.
Perhaps it was also Tupaeas unflappable demeanour that brought a strong display out of Rieko Ioane in the No 13 jersey.
The pair certainly appeared to have a good rapport during their media duties during the week, and their combination must have delighted the All Blacks coaches.
It goes without saying that the All Blacks will face tougher opposition this year. And to be fair to the Crusaders No 12 David Havili, he should be given a chance against Fiji next week to put his own stamp on the position with his subtle range of skills.
But Tupaea was very promising on Saturday, and no amount of finger-pointing about Tongas woes should cloud that fact