South Africa v Tonga, Rugby World Cup 2023: when is it and how to watch on TV

South Africa's Handre Pollard looks on during the captain's run in Johannesburg on July 28, 2023 ahead of their Rugby Championship match against Argentinia
Handre Pollard is set to feature against Tonga after being drafted into the squad following an injury to Malcolm Marx - AFP via Getty Images/Wikus de Wet

South Africa will play their final Pool B match hoping to bounce back after narrowly losing in an epic encounter with Ireland.

Having lost their first two matches, Tonga are playing largely for pride, but the Springboks will be keen to bag four or more tries and a bonus point.

That is because they rest the following weekend, when the pool fixtures are completed and Scotland will be hoping to pull off a shock against Ireland and grab one of the two qualifying places for the quarter-finals.

Much of the fallout from the Ireland defeat has been about their misfiring kicking, but director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has defended fly-half Manie Libbok amid calls for his replacement by Handre Pollard.

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When is it?

South Africa will play Tonga on Sunday, October 1, with the match kicking off at 8pm (BST, 9pm local time).

Where is it?

At the Stade de Marseille – the iconic venue that is home to Olympique de Marseille football club. It hosted matches during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, when it staged two quarter-finals, as well as the 1938 and 1998 football World Cups.

France have played 13 rugby Tests at the venue and it also hosted the 2022 Champions Cup Final. It has a capacity of 67,847 for the RWC.

The Stade de Marseille
The Stade de Marseille is hosting four pool matches and two quarter-finals at RWC 2023 - AFP/Nicolas Tucat

Who is the referee?

Luke Pearce will take charge of this fixture. The Briton is at his second World Cup, have made his debut at the tournament in Japan four years ago. This is his second match in France, having refereed Australia v Georgia, and he will also take charge of Fiji v Portugal.

How to watch on TV

ITV has exclusive broadcast rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the UK. This match will be on ITV1.

Read Telegraph Sport’s analysis of the best TV commentators and pundits.

Radio commentary will be available only on the BBC, across Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds service.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets for this match are still available (as of September 26) and can be purchased via the official Rugby World Cup ticket portal.

What is the recent history between the teams?

South Africa and Tonga have only played each twice before, in a 1997 Test match and at the 2007 World Cup, with the Springboks winning on both occasions 74-10 and 30-25 respectively.

What are South Africa’s pool fixtures and results?

What are Tonga’s pool fixtures and results?

Who is in the South Africa squad?

Forwards: Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Handre Pollard (replaced Malcolm Marx), Eben Etzebeth, Jean Kleyn, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (c), Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese, Deon Fourie, Franco Mostert.

Backs: Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Cobus Reinach, Grant Williams, Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse, Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie.

Who is in the Tonga squad?

Forwards: Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Feao Fotuaika, Tau Koloamatangi, Paula Ngauamo, Siua Maile, Samiuela Moli, Ben Tameifuna, Paula Latu, Sosefo ‘Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Leva Fifita, Samiuela Lousi, Sitiveni Mafi, Vaea Fifita, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Semisi Paea, Solomone Funaki, Sione Vailanu, Sione Havili Talitui.

Backs: Sonatane Takulua, Augustine Pulu, Manu Paea, William Havili, Otumaka Mausia, Pia Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, Afusipa Taumoefolau, Fine Inisi, Solomone Kata, Salesi Piutau, Kyren Taumoefolau, Anzelo Tuitavuki.

Latest news

South Africa flanker Kwagga Smith says it is crucial his team earn a bonus-point win against Tonga after their defeat by Ireland.

“We know we need to get the five points against Tonga, so we will go into the game with the mindset that we need to get a bonus point,” Smith said.

“Tonga are a physical team, so to play against them will be great to know our physicality is also at the highest level. From minute one we need to play hard and take our opportunities.”

Smith also said the Springboks must become more inaccurate, with their kicks and with ball in hand.

“It was a disappointing loss for us [against Ireland], we have reviewed it and we had a lot of opportunities which we did not use. We will have to make sure that doesn’t happen again because from now on, we can’t have any more slip-ups,” Smith said.

“The breakdown is certainly one of those phases where they slowed things down and the ball [came out] one or two seconds slower than it should have. That takes away the chance to score a try.

“But we are excited to know that we created those opportunities and should we play them again, we have to be sharper and use them. That is what we will need to do to win the World Cup.”

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