Gregor Townsend’s side had plenty of time to brood over their first match of the tournament, a bruising 18-3 defeat to defending champions South Africa in Marseille that left the head coach worrying of a possible missed red card for Jesse Kriel early on.
They now head to Nice hoping to live up to their status as comfortable favorites against the Pacific Islanders and claim a first win to prove they are still in the race to qualify from a Pool B granite, with Ireland and the Springboks facing off. Paris 24 hours earlier.
Tonga’s team was strengthened by World Rugby’s changes to the rules regarding changing international allegiance, but the odds were still against them in this group.
Toutai Kefu’s side impressed at times in their opening match against Ireland last weekend, with a goal from Vaea Fifita, but ultimately the world number 1 ranked side scored eight tries in a resounding 59-point victory -16 with bonus points in which captain Johnny Sexton became his best player. top scorer of the time.
Kick-off date, time and location
Scotland v Tonga takes place today, Sunday September 24, 2023, with kick-off scheduled for 4:45 p.m. BST.
The match will take place at the Stade de Nice – AKA, the Allianz Riviera.
Where to watch Scotland vs Tonga
TV channel: In the UK, Scotland v Tonga will be shown live and free on ITV1, with coverage starting at 4pm.
Direct: Fans can also tune in online for free via the ITV website and ITVX app.
Scotland vs Tonga team news
Townsend made four changes to the Scotland XV which started against South Africa a fortnight ago, two at the back and two among the forwards.
Winger Kyle Steyn and center Chris Harris replace Darcy Graham and Huw Jones, who both drop to the bench.
Rory Sutherland gets the nod at free prop in place of Pierre Schoeman, while Scott Cummings partners Richie Gray at lock with Grant Gilchrist completely absent.
Ewan Ashman, Sam Skinner and George Horne are all drafted onto the Scottish bench.
Tonga remain unchanged from their loss to Ireland, with Solomone Kata and Afusipa Taumoepeau swapping wings and former Australia defender Adam Coleman in line for his debut from the bench.
Patrick Pellegrini is also among the substitutes after a calf injury to substitute fly-half Otumaka Mausia.
Scotland v Tonga line-ups
XV of Scotland: Royal horn; Steyn, Harris, Tuipulotu, Van der Merwe; Russell, White; Sutherland, Turner, Z Fagerson; R Gray, Cummings; Ritchie (c), Darge, Dempsey
Substitutes: Ashman, Schoeman, Nel, Skinner, M Fagerson, Horne, Jones, Graham
Tonga XV: Piutau; Kata, Fekitoa, Ahki, Taumoepeau; Havili, Pulu; Fisi’ihoi, Ngauamo, Tameifuna (c); L Fifita, Lousi; Halaifonua, Talitui, V Fifita
Substitutes: Moli, Kolomatangi, Apikotoa, Coleman, Paea, Vailanu, Takulua, Pellegrini
Referee Scotland vs Tonga
The referee for Sunday’s match will be Englishman Karl Dickson, assisted by Nika Amashukeli and Craig Evans as well as TMO Ben Whitehouse.
Scotland vs Tonga Prediction
Scotland played their part in an ultra-physical showdown with South Africa last time out, but few can take on the fearsome Boks in the power play and come out on top.
It wasn’t a surprise to see this game and the possibility of a big early upset end up going away from them, but it’s an entirely different prospect for Townsend and Co.
Scotland should have the opportunity to demonstrate their attacking ambitions on several occasions in Nice, with a big victory surely in sight. They must get the bonus point to have any hope of fighting to get out of Pool B.
Scotland wins, by 20 points.
History and results of face-to-face meetings (h2h)
Scotland have won four of the five previous meetings between these two nations, but were beaten by Tonga in an autumn international at Pittodrie in 2012.
Scotland wins: 4
Tonga wins: 1
Latest Scotland vs Tonga odds
Scotland wins: 1/25
Tonga winner: 14/1
Odds via Betfair and subject to change.