Scotland keep World Cup dream alive with Tonga win as Gregor Townsend hits out at officiating

Afusipa Taumoepeau of Tonga tackles Jamie Ritchie of Scotland and receives a yellow card
Afusipa Taumoepeau was given a yellow card for a high shot on Scotland captain Jamie Ritchie and the incident was referred to the TMO bunker - Getty Images/David Rogers

By David Barnes in Nice

It was not the complete performance they were looking for, but Scotland got what they needed out of this match – a bonus-point win – to keep themselves alive in the battle to qualify for the quarter-finals out of this trickiest of World Cup pools.

The cost, however, could be significant, with captain Jamie Ritchie suffering a concussion midway through the first half after head on shoulder contact with Tongan winger Afusipa Taumoepeau. The flanker looked groggy as he made his way from the field and did not return to the fray. He also missed the post-match press conference.

Ritchie is now going through the head injury return to play protocols and won’t be available for selection for at least 12 days after the injury, with the Ireland game 13 days away.

It came as a shock when the yellow-card initially shown to Taumoepeau was not upgraded to a red by the ‘bunker’ foul play review officer with the rationale being that the Scotsman had dipped as he accelerated into contact.

“I heard the referee saying there was mitigation in terms of height for why it stayed as a yellow,” said Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. “It’s very disappointing that our captain, one of our key players, was hit in the head and had to be removed from the game.

“It’s twice now that’s happened. Against South Africa, our No 8, Jack Dempsey, was hit in the head. Nothing happened that day, and today it was only a yellow card.

“I just don’t understand what the TMO, bunker and the three officials who are there are looking at. We’re trying to look at ways to not give red cards rather than referee what isn’t a legal tackle and should be a red card, in my opinion.”

Tongan No 8 Vaea Fifita also saw yellow towards the end when he led with his shoulder into a ruck clear-out on Finn Russell and this time the offence was upgraded to a red.

Scotland now move on to Romania in Lille next Saturday, which should be a fairly routine win and a chance to rest some key men ahead of a showdown against Ireland in Paris on Saturday 7th October.

The Scots flew out the blocks into a fourth minute lead through a line-out maul try from George Turner but wobbled when William Havili kicked a scrum penalty then converted Solomone Kata’s well-taken try.

A neat finish from man-of-the-match Duhan van der Merwe after good hands from Russell, Sione Tuipulotu and Blair Kinghorn settles the nerves, Kyle Steyn added the third, and Rory Darge showed grit to bounce off the deck from a tackle and finish the fourth try under the posts on the stroke of half-time.

Tonga struck first after the break, through captain Ben Tameifuna, as Scotland started the second half in unconvincing style, and it took 15 minutes for them to rediscover their groove through replacement scrum-half George Horne, following a demonstration of power and soft hands from van der Merwe.

A Kinghorn try running a wicked line of Russell took Scotland clear, before a trademark jinking run from Darcy Graham added some polish to the result.

Match details

Scoring sequence: 5-0 Turner try, 7-0 Russell pen, 7-3 Havili pen, 7-8 Kata try, 7-10 Havili con, 12-10 van der Merwe try, 17-10 Steyn try, 22-10 try Darge, 24-10 con Russell, 24-15 Tameifuna try, 24-17 Havili con, 29-17 Horne try, 31-17 Russell con, 36-17 Kinghorn try, 38-17 Russell con, 43-17 Graham try, 45-17 Russell con.
Scotland: B Kinghorn; K Steyn (D Graham 47), C Harris (H Jones, 47), S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; F Russell, B White (G Horne, 47); R Sutherland (P Schoeman 47), G Turner (E Ashman 58), Z Fagerson (W Nel, 58), R Gray, S Cummings (S Skinner, 64), J Ritchie (c, M Fagerson 33), R Darge, J Dempsey.
Tonga: S Piutau; S Kata, M Fekitoa, P Ahki, A Taumoepeau; W Havili (P Pellegrini. 77), A Pulu (S Takulua 55); S Fisi’ihoi (T Koloamatangi, 71), P Ngauamo (S Mol i51), B Tameifuna (c, S Apikotoa 66), H Fifita, S Lousi (A Coleman 55), T Halaifonua (S Vailanu 55), S Talitui (S Paea 69), V Fifita.
Yellow cards: Taumoepeau (33 mins), Fifita (77 mins)
Referee: K Dickson
Attendance: 33,189

Scotland still have chance of progression after Tonga win: As it happened

07:03 PM BST

Thanks for following with us

No disrespect to either Scotland or Tonga, but today’s real big game is up next.

Wales secure a quarter-final with a win - and would knock out Australia in the pool stages of the World Cup for the first time.

You can follow our live coverage here.

Have a good evening!

07:01 PM BST

Russell speaks to ITV

It was definitely [a relief to get the win] but but we didn’t pull away until the end. They were in the game and they put us under some pressure but it was good to see the boys putting on a bit of a show at the end and scoring a few tries.

As good as it is getting the bonus point and the win, we need to be a lot better as a team.

When Jamie went off early, I was pleased we kept together. I didn’t see the incident [that led to his injury].

06:54 PM BST

Fifita's red

06:51 PM BST

Breaking - Fifita

The yellow card the No 8 received late on for a shoulder to the head of Russell at the ruck has been upgraded to red.

As expected, really. Not intentional but pretty reckless and maladroit.

06:49 PM BST

Pool B

With Ireland on 14 points and South Africa on 10, that victory leaves Scotland on 5.

They face Romania next weekend - where a bonus-point win will surely be the outcome - before a do-or-die clash on October 8 against Ireland.

06:44 PM BST

Graham rounds it off

06:43 PM BST

Full-time: SCO 45 TGA 17

Convincing in the end - and Scotland did what they had to do.

Incidentally, there’s been no word yet on whether Fifita’s yellow card will be upgraded - and the game is over!

06:42 PM BST


No mistake from the stand-in captain.

06:42 PM BST


There’s the (Dave) Cherry on the cake, if you will.

Graham breaks from halfway after Jones and Horne combined.

The wing, who is rapid, once in behind leaves the Tongans for dead to score.

06:41 PM BST

80 mins: SCO 38 TGA 17

As Tonga knock on, Scotland look for the cherry on the cake.

Kinghorn, who has been excellent, darts on the end of another long Russell pass but Scotland get a touch isolated and there’s another jackal penalty for Tonga.

They kick long, but lose the line-out.

Scotland are off here!

06:38 PM BST

79 mins: SCO 38 TGA 17

Penalty to Tonga at the scrum!

Nel is penalised for driving down and the Pacific Islanders clear up to their own 10-metre line.

Tonga will throw in, too, as we move into the final minute.

06:37 PM BST

That mazy run (which should have ended in a try)

06:36 PM BST

79 mins: SCO 38 TGA 17

Scotland go to the corner but Vailanu puts in a handy turnover on the Tongan line - it was so strong, in fact, that the ball flies dead!

We start with a Scottish five-metre scrum.

06:35 PM BST

77 mins: SCO 38 TGA 17

Oh no, we’re going upstairs here.

Russell is part of the ruck, not involved really and not competing, and Vaea Fifita is going to be yellow carded after flying in and thumping the Scottish stand-in captain’s head with his shoulder.

That, also, could be upgraded to red. It will be reviewed.

06:33 PM BST

76 mins: SCO 38 TGA 17

Kinghorn is running riot, running in a beautifully balanced fashion and causing Tonga problems.

Ashman drives, so too Cummins, before Kinghorn switches with Graham.

There’s a ridiculous off-the-ball tackle from Apikotoa which is correctly penalised.

Scotland go to the corner, but lose the line-out - and Tonga are running from their own 22...

06:30 PM BST

74 mins: SCO 38 TGA 17

Free-kick to Scotland as Tonga are penalised for not hooking the ball at the scrum.

The Scots opt to scrum again, on the Tongan 22.

They run the same move as the first half first phase and Kinghorn thinks he’s in!

But Ahki gets across superbly to chop the Scottish full-back a metre short - and Tonga scramble brilliantly to hold up Van der Merwe at the ensuing ruck.

06:26 PM BST

71 mins: SCO 38 TGA 17

Van der Merwe is going the length from the restart!

He gets up to the Tongan 22 before flinging a wide pass off the left to Jones, but Fekitoa scrambles back brilliantly to force the knock-on.

The centre had Graham in acres outside, too.

06:25 PM BST


Russell’s goal-kicking has improved as the match has gone on, too.

06:23 PM BST


Penalty to Scotland as Tonga’s close-range defenders are offside.

And Russell goes quickly! Ashman and Schoeman both have a drive - the latter twice - Fagerson, too, but in the end Russell picks the perfect pass for Kinghorn, who scores on the right side.

Game over.

06:21 PM BST

67 mins: SCO 31 TGA 17

Aggressive line-speed from Scotland ends with Havili sealing off inside the Tongan 22. Penalty to Scotland.

Scotland go to the corner, with one eye on the points difference.

Apikotoa is on for Tameifuna.

06:19 PM BST

66 mins: SCO 31 TGA 17

Skinner and Ashman are also on for Scotland, as Horne knocks on after another evasive run.

Tonga to put in on their own 22.

06:17 PM BST

64 mins: SCO 31 TGA 17

A backtracking Piutau spills the ball under little pressure so the full-back’s clearance is not what he would have liked.

Scotland throw in just outside the Tongan 22 but Gray knocks on.

We restart with a Tonga scrum.

06:15 PM BST

62 mins: SCO 31 TGA 17

Incidentally, Ritchie did not return because he failed his HIA after that Taumoepeau yellow-card tackle. Here’s hoping the flanker’s ok, with two pool matches still to come. Russell will not skipper Scotland.

Tonga win a holding-on penalty and Havili gives his side he line-out on the Scottish 10-metre line - but the throw over the top isn’t straight.

Coleman, too, is on for his Tonga debut.

06:13 PM BST

60 mins: SCO 31 TGA 17

Schoeman is penalised for a side entry on the Tongan 22 so Havili hammers the ball downfield for a line-out outside the Scottish 22.

Takulua, just on for Pulu, loses the ball forward and Russell clears. Piutau scampers back, Fekitoa puts the ball out of play, and Scotland will throw in on halfway.

An impressive net gain for the Scots.

06:11 PM BST

Horne's try

06:09 PM BST

57 mins: SCO 31 TGA 17

An awkward Russell kick sends Taumoepeau back to his tryline and the wing rushes his clearance, making a hash of it.

Scotland throw in just inside the Tongan 22 - but it’s not straight.

We restart with a Tonga scrum.

06:08 PM BST


Laser accuracy from Russell that time wide on the left.

Surely 14 points is enough to see Scotland home now?

06:07 PM BST


Horne has not been on long at scrum-half and he’s on the scoresheet.

Graham and Cummins get Scotland on the front foot before Van der Merwe fends what seemed like the entire Tongan team - including getting his own back on Kata - to feed Horne down the left and score.

06:06 PM BST

53 mins: SCO 24 TGA 17

Halaleva Fifita makes a mess of the Scottish line-out, tapping down to Fisi’ihoi who puts Pulu away.

But Fifita knocked on and Scotland survive a nervy moment.

06:04 PM BST

Tameifuna's try

06:03 PM BST

52 mins: SCO 24 TGA 17

Penalty to Scotland as Schoeman - just on - does a job on Big Ben Tameifuna.

Russell clears up towards halfway.

06:01 PM BST

50 mins: SCO 24 TGA 17

It’s not straight - and the chance goes begging.

Scotland will escape with a five-metre scrum.

06:01 PM BST

49 mins: SCO 24 TGA 17

Dempsey plays the arm in the line-out and so Havili goes back to the corner to give Tonga a five-metre line-out.

This, even with 50 mins not up on the clock, feels like a big moment.

06:00 PM BST

49 mins: SCO 24 TGA 17

The momentum is with Tonga.

What a strike from Piutau, from inside his own half, cannons a grubber towards the Scotland 22.

Its ferocity is such that Kinghorn has to dive for it and carry it out - it would have been a 50:22 anyway.

Schoeman, Jones and Graham all on for Scotland as Tonga throw in inside the Scottish 22.

05:56 PM BST

47 mins: SCO 24 TGA 17

Scotland reclaim the restart but there’s a Kinghorn forward pass as they try to work it down the left.

Tonga will restart in a scrum close to their own 10-metre line.

05:55 PM BST


A sweet strike from Havili and there is a try and conversion in it.

05:54 PM BST


Oh Finn, what are you doing? It’s a disastrous start to the half for Scotland.

Van der Merwe does so well to shove Ngauamo into touch from the line-out - but Scotland choose to go quickly close to their own line.

Russell, under pressure, puts in a terrible clearance. Kata charges back and then Tameifuna rumbles over Russell, and Gray and Steyn can’t combine to stop him.

Game on!

05:52 PM BST

43 mins: SCO 24 TGA 10

A decent period for Scotland, with Russell again probing out wide and Sutherland prominent, ends with a penalty against Cummins as he gets in front of the loosehead prop on the carry.

Taumoepeau is back on as Havili hits a glorious touch-finder to inside the Scottish 22.

05:49 PM BST

The teams are back out

Can’t see any changes except for M Fagerson coming on for Ritchie.

And the yellow card will remain a yellow as Ritchie is deemed to have dropped late.

That must have been close.

05:38 PM BST

The bonus-point try

05:35 PM BST

Half-time: SCO 24 TGA 10

Scotland, having wrapped up the try bonus point with scores through Turner, Steyn, Van der Merwe and Darge, will be pleased with that - especially given at one stage they trailed thanks to a Kata try for Tonga.

Townsend’s side can’t take their foot off the gas in the second half, however. This Tonga side have the firepower to strike from anywhere.

05:34 PM BST


They don’t come much easier than that.

05:34 PM BST


That’s the bonus point and it felt inevitable.

The softness of it was not inevitable, however.

Darge carries in the tight, tackled by Halaifonua, but the flanker’s not held, gets up, and scampers under the posts.

Strange score.

05:32 PM BST

40 mins: SCO 17 TGA 10

Decent defence from Tonga as Dempsey, White and Harris all get close, before Van der Merwe lunges desperately at the corner flag with Fekitoa ushering him into touch.

No matter, we go back for a Scotland penalty just to the right of the sticks, five metres out.

Scotland opt to scrum in the last play of the half.

05:30 PM BST

39 mins: SCO 17 TGA 10

That could be a big moment at the end of this half.

White puts a delicate, demon box-kick into the Tongan 22 and Piutau is down a blind alley collecting it.

Cummings, the lock, chases hard and bundles the full-back into touch.

Scotland throw inside the Tongan 22.

05:29 PM BST

38 mins: SCO 17 TGA 10

Scotland try another strike play after Tonga clear but Van der Merwe is chopped well by Fekitoa and knocks on on the floor.

The Pacific Islanders think it’s on down the blindside but Piutau is shepherded into touch.

Scotland throw in just inside their own half.

05:27 PM BST

Van der Merwe's try

05:26 PM BST

36 mins: SCO 17 TGA 10

Scotland will be disappointed with that, given the man advantage.

Tonga have gotten to grips with the Scottish maul, which is probing inside the 22.

Russell wants to explore down the short side but it’s not really on and his offload to Van der Merwe drifts forward.

Tonga scrum, seven metres from their own line.

05:25 PM BST

Tonga's try

05:24 PM BST


Yep, a sin bin for the Tonga wing - and it will be an off-field review.

Was there mitigation? I’m not convinced. It could be red.

05:23 PM BST

34 mins: SCO 17 TGA 10

Tonga look to be developing a threatening position but Turner comes away with it... and it’s on!

Russell and Kinghorn fling long passes out to Steyn, who takes Scotland up to halfway.

Taumoepeau has been penalised for a high tackle on Ritchie.

He might be going to the bin here - at least. The wing was upright and connects with Ritchie’s head.

05:21 PM BST


Another miss from Russell, hitting the post this time.

So Scotland are one try off that targeted try bonus point, but also only lead by seven.

05:20 PM BST


That’s three for Scotland! And Steyn finishes lethally.

Turner throws long to Ritchie, with the flanker scooping up the bouncing ball and feeding Van der Merwe on the scissors.

Scotland are on the front foot and, after the forwards tie Tonga in, Russell looks for width again.

His pacy pass finds Steyn on an outside line and the wing has too much toe for Ahki on the overlap.

05:18 PM BST

29 mins: SCO 12 TGA 10

Tonga look to go through the phases just inside the Scottish 22 but Talitui is penalised for taking Darge out off the ball.

Russell gives his side a line-out just outside the Tongan 22.

05:16 PM BST


It was tough for the Scotland playmaker - hopefully it does not come back to bite his side.

05:15 PM BST


Vintage Scotland.

The maul does little but then the set play comes - and it’s a classic.

Tuipulotu takes the ball to the line at first receiver, pulls it back to Russell, who fires a pass into the path of Kinghorn, who can do nothing but fly onto it.

The full-back breaks through the gap out wide and gives Van der Merwe an unopposed finish in the corner.

05:13 PM BST

25 mins: SCO 7 TGA 10

Van der Merwe’s in the wars again, being hammered by Fekitoa as the wing tries to find some space.

Sutherland breaks! A bustling run by the prop after he spins out of Fisi’ihoi’s tackle.

Russell attempts the cross-kick to Steyn and the wing is a whisker away from collecting in a dangerous area.

There’s a no-arms tackle by Havili, however, so it’s a Scotland penalty, which Russell kicks into the Tongan 22.

05:10 PM BST


A superb strike from wide on the right - and Tonga lead by three!

05:09 PM BST


That was a bit... easy?

Havili puts Kata in some space down the right, the wing boshing Van der Merwe once again, taking Tonga up to the Scottish 22.

A phase later, Piutau is exploiting the blindside, brushing off Russell’s tackle and sending Kata clear down the right.

Leicester fans will be excited!

05:07 PM BST

Kata's bosh on Van der Merwe

05:06 PM BST

19 mins: SCO 7 TGA 3

There are some serious collisions here.

Tuipulotu is upended by Ahki (accidentally) before Kinghorn knocks on in the tackle just inside the Scotland half.

Scrum Tonga.

05:04 PM BST

17 mins: SCO 7 TGA 3

White darts from the line-out but Tonga turn the ball over and clear through Pulu.

Kinghorn covers and replies with the boot, but Pulu and Piutau’s attempted counter is a messy one, with the latter spilling the ball into touch.

Scotland throw on halfway.

05:03 PM BST

14 mins: SCO 7 TGA 3

Goodness me. Van der Merwe, on the kick-chase, has just been absolutely flattened by Kata, the Leicester back. That was utterly monstrous.

Two phases later, however, Scotland pile into the counter-ruck and Russell hits a gorgeous 50:22.

Line-out Scotland, just inside the Tongan 22.

05:01 PM BST

14 mins: SCO 7 TGA 3

Some serious width being employed by Scotland here, with Russell conducting things adventurously.

Scotland reach the Tongan 22 after two surges from Steyn, but the wing’s offload ends up in the mitts of Piutau, and Tonga clear up to the Scottish 22.

04:57 PM BST

Scotland's early chance

04:57 PM BST


A settled opener from Havili and Tonga are off the mark.

04:56 PM BST

8 mins: SCO 7 TGA 0

Kinghorn spills a high ball so Tonga put into the scrum on the Scottish 10-metre line.

Penalty to Tonga with Sutherland accused of collapsing. A correct call by the book but Tameifuna looked under more pressure.

Tonga will have a shot at goal.

04:53 PM BST


A simple sighter for the Scotland playmaker.

04:53 PM BST


That’s ominous for Tonga so early on.

Scotland’s pack splinter the Tongan forwards from just inside the 22, with the maul flying at a real pace as it approached the line. Turner dots down.

04:52 PM BST

4 mins: SCO 0 TGA 0

A line-out infringement from Tonga ends with a Scotland penalty on halfway.

Russell gives his side the throw on the Tongan 22 - and there’s a Scottish maul flying!

04:50 PM BST


Ah, Kinghorn was just short with the grounding. What a shame.

04:48 PM BST


What a start! I think Kinghorn is there!

Oh, but he’s not convinced...

Tonga spill the ball in the Scotland half - and the Scottish full-back is off like a shot.

He hacks down field, hares after the ball, and dots down on the line.

04:47 PM BST


Havili gets us under way!

04:47 PM BST

A reminder of the teams

Scotland starting XV: Blair Kinghorn; Kyle Steyn, Chris Harris, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ben White; Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Zander Fagerson; Richie Gray, Scott Cummings; Jamie Ritchie (captain), Rory Darge, Jack Dempsey. 
Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Huw Jones, Darcy Graham.

Tonga starting XV: Salesi Piutau; Solomone Kata, Malakai Fekitoa, Pita Ahki, Afusipa Taumoepeau; William Havili, Augustine Pulu; Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Paula Ngauamo, Ben Tameifuna (captain); Halaleva Fifita, Sam Lousi; Tanginoa Halaifonua, Sione Talitui, Vaea Fifita.
Replacements: Sam Moli, Tau Koloamatangi, Sosefo Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Semisi Paea, Sione Vailanu, Sonatane Takulua, Patrick Pellegrini.

04:43 PM BST

Sipi Tau

Tonga’s equivalent of the Haka is up next.

04:43 PM BST

Credit where it is due

The anthems, even after the instrumentals were added, have been pretty dire this tournament.

Even with the musical addition, the arrangements have been far too fast, with capacity crowds struggling to keep up in the stadium acoustics.


The version of ‘Flower of Scotland’ that they’re using is one of the best I’ve heard. Worked well.

04:39 PM BST

Here come the teams!

The anthems are next.

04:37 PM BST

Townsend speaks pre-match

04:37 PM BST

ITV's teaser

Well, I was in the right ballpark, but it was Frank Bunce, who scored for Samoa and New Zealand at different World Cups in the 90s.

04:35 PM BST

ITV's teaser

First player to score a World Cup try with two different nations?

Without cheating, do you know the answer?

I’m not sure, but I’d guess either Graeme Bachop or Jamie Joseph (probably the former) who played at World Cups for both Japan and New Zealand in the 1990s.

04:30 PM BST

Pre-match reading

On the Scotland side, there’s Senior Rugby Writer Charlie Morgan on how Scotland’s gameplan could get them to a quarter-final, but they’re going to have to be flawless from here on in.

And, for Tonga, here’s the incredible journey of Pat Pellegrini, who has gone from level five club rugby to playing at the World Cup.

Pat Pellegrini
Pat Pellegrini - WORLD RUGBY

04:21 PM BST

Rugby World Cup free bets and betting offers

It’s Scotland’s time to make a statement and show something very convincing against Tonga. Back them to do just that with these Rugby World Cup free bets and betting offers.

04:16 PM BST


I do think Townsend’s side will win today, but is this a fair assessment, given they currently sit on zero points in Pool B, with Ireland on 14 and South Africa on 10:

It is more likely that Scotland lose to Tonga today than get out of the group.

Hypothetical, of course, but a point to debate.

Let me know in the comments!

04:07 PM BST

Today's referee

It’s England’s Karl Dickson.

Here he is at the toss with the two captains, Jamie Ritchie and Ben Tameifuna, in Nice.

Captains Jamie Ritchie of Scotland and Ben Tameifuna of Tonga join Referee Karl Dickson at The Asahi Coin Toss prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Scotland and Tonga at Stade de Nice on September 24, 2023 in Nice, France
Captains Jamie Ritchie of Scotland and Ben Tameifuna of Tonga join Referee Karl Dickson at The Asahi Coin Toss prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Scotland and Tonga at Stade de Nice on September 24, 2023 in Nice, France

03:58 PM BST

Looking for an early Christmas gift?

03:49 PM BST

Team news

Townsend makes four changes to the side that lost to South Africa. Prop Rory Sutherland and second-row Scott Cummings come into the pack for Pierre Schoeman and Grant Gilchrist respectively, while centre Chris Harris and wing Kyle Steyn start in the backline, with Huw Jones and Darcy Graham dropping to the bench.

Scotland starting XV: Blair Kinghorn; Kyle Steyn, Chris Harris, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Ben White; Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Zander Fagerson; Richie Gray, Scott Cummings; Jamie Ritchie (captain), Rory Darge, Jack Dempsey. 
Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Huw Jones, Darcy Graham.

No changes for Tonga, but Coleman could make his debut off the bench.

Tonga starting XV: Salesi Piutau; Solomone Kata, Malakai Fekitoa, Pita Ahki, Afusipa Taumoepeau; William Havili, Augustine Pulu; Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Paula Ngauamo, Ben Tameifuna (captain); Halaleva Fifita, Sam Lousi; Tanginoa Halaifonua, Sione Talitui, Vaea Fifita.
Replacements: Sam Moli, Tau Koloamatangi, Sosefo Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Semisi Paea, Sione Vailanu, Sonatane Takulua, Patrick Pellegrini.

03:37 PM BST

Will the Scots be undercooked?

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of today’s Pool B match between Scotland and Tonga in Nice.

Scotland have not played a World Cup match for a fortnight and now find themselves in the almost perverse position, after Ireland’s tremendous victory against South Africa, of knowing that only 10 points from their two matches against Tonga and Romania will realistically be enough to stand any chance of progressing from Pool B.

And, even if Gregor Townsend’s side manage that, they will still have to defeat a rested Irish outfit in Paris on the final weekend of the pool stages; perhaps, with a try bonus point, owing to their solitary three points in defeat to the Springboks.

Townsend’s defence coach, Steve Tandy, believes there is still reason for optimism within the Scottish camp.

”It was really important to give [the players] a bit of down time, the families came over, they had two or three days to digest and process the South Africa [loss] and get it out of their system,” Tandy said.

”When you come to a World Cup you don’t need to sharpen them. These boys are focused. We have been looking at this tournament for such a long time.

”We don’t want it to be over. The boys are ready to play now, to get out there and put back to back performances together.”

Tonga, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from a comprehensive opening defeat to Ireland. The Pacific Islanders will be bolstered by the debut of former Australia lock, Adam Coleman, who played alongside Scotland No 8 Jack Dempsey for the Wallabies at the 2019 World Cup.

”[A] very proud day,” Coleman said. “It is like a full-circle moment for me and my family. The reason I started playing rugby was because of the old man (Pau’u Lolohea-Afeaki).

”To wear the same fabric that he has worn means it is going to be pretty special tomorrow.”

Next, team news and confirmed line-ups!

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