2023 Rugby World Cup

Stade de Nice, Nice

Full-Time

Scotland_whiteout
45 - 17
45
verses icon
17
tonga_whiteout

7
Tries
2
Turner5′
van der Merwe26′
Steyn30′
Darge42′
Horne54′
Kinghorn68′
Graham82′
20′Kata
44′Tameifuna
5
Conversions
2
Russell6′
Russell43′
Russell55′
Russell70′
Russell83′
21′Havili
45′Havili
0
Penalties
1
10′Havili
0
Drop Goals
0
19:05

Romania next up in Pool B next weekend; Scotland Women also in action

Pool B continues next weekend with Scotland facing Romania in Lille on Saturday 30 September in what is another must-win fixture for hopes of knockout Rugby World Cup 2023 rugby.

South Africa will play Tonga the day after as this intriguing pool prepares to work itself out in the coming weeks.

You can follow that Romania match here on the Match Centre, with kick-off coming at the later time of 8pm (BST). Scotland Women are also playing that day, against Spain at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh, kick-off 5:45pm – you can get your tickets for that here

 

19:00

Scotland will be happy, says Nelson

A good day’s work according to Scotland international Helen Nelson: “The kicking game in second half was exceptional,” said the 51-cap back. “Duhan has been on fire with some electric runs. The Tongans were extremely physical throughout the whole game and put our scrum under some pressure. Although it’s maybe not our most clinical performance, we can be happy with a bonus point win against a tough opponent.”

80'

Try Scotland! Devastating Darcy!

He’s just electric isn’t he? Time is up and Scotland could kick it out but they decide to have one more foray and Huw Jones gets half through, and feeds Darcy Graham. The fleet-footed flyer takes it from there, enjoying a swerve-ridden sprint to the try line to reach 100 international points by virtue of his now 20 tries. Sublime. Russell clips over his fifth conversion to end the game. Job done.

80'

Scotland score seven in impressive Nice victory

Full-time in Nice and Scotland have the result, and try count, that they wanted prior to kick-off. Tonga were energetic and unsurprisingly aggressive in contact but tired as the game wore on.

George Turner’s rumbling opener set the tone, before Duhan van der Merwe, Kyle Steyn and Rory Darge added three more tries before the break.

Tonga received twice went down to 14 men (one of whom, Vaea Fifita, had his upgraded to red as the action finished) and although they were technically in the game until the final ten minutes, tries from Blair Kinghorn, George Horne and Darcy Graham stretched Scotland’s lead to an unassailable one.

Finn Russell was the heartbeat of so much of Scotland’s attacking creation, and added five conversions in a polished performance.

76'

Fifita the next in the bunker

Vaea Fifita, the Tonga no 8, is the second of his team to face a potential red card, this time for a nasty high ambush near the head of Finn Russell at a ruck. Fifita’s game is over regardless because of the lack of time on the clock; can Scotland nab a seventh before the end?

66'

Try Scotland! Blair buffer!

Blair Kinghorn gets in on the act, the full-back running on to a flat pass from, you guessed it, Finn Russell after a period if sustained penalty advantage pressure in and around the Tongan line. Scotland’s stand-off has been sublime once more today and lands his fourth conversion, and that should be that. 38-17.

54'

Try Scotland! Sound the Horne!

Scotland almost there. Finn Russell fires a flat one to Scott Cummings, who does well to hold on instead of blindly offloading. Russell then finds Duhan van der Merwe who just swats away Tongans was if they were annoying younger siblings. The winger then feeds George Horne who, cool as you like, slides over to make an instant impact. Russell’s touchline conversion is a belter. 31-17.

64'

Skinner completes match day 23 minutes

Sam Skinner makes his Rugby World Cup debut, taking to the field for Richie Gray. 15 or so left at Stade de Nice and Scotland looking relatively comfortable, if not entirely so.

70'

Duhan threatens Twickenham repeat

Duhan van der Merwe, he of the Hall of Fame try against England in the Calcutta Cup earlier this year, is at his destructive best as he enters into a gallop up the left, jinking and carving through Tonga’s flagging men. His final pass to Huw Jones doesn’t quite meet the criteria for perfect and it ends up a case of what might have been.

58'

Front-row fillip

Ewan Ashman and WP Nel are introduced as we approach the hour mark with George Turner and Zander Fagerson having done their work for the day.

18:15

By George!

A typically classy finish by George Horne saw the scrum-half notch Scotland’s fifth try of the afternoon.

43'

Tonga rally to score second try

A poor clearance allows Kata to have a go at the Scottish defence and after a quick recycle, Ben Tameifuna, the tighthead, bludgeons his way over to score, with William Havili converting to close the gap to seven points at 24-17. Game very much on in Nice.

48'

41-try cavalry join the action

Darcy Graham, with 19 international tries to his name, Huw Jones (16) and George Horne (6) come on to add some serious attacking firepower to Scottish ranks. They replace Steyn, Harris and White, respectively.

Rory Sutherland also takes his leave, to be replaced by Pierre Schoeman.

41'

Second half live – Tonga keep 15 on the pitch

Afusipa Taumoepeau is free to rejoin the action after his ten-minute sin bin ends, those who make such decisions determining that the winger’s high tackle on Jamie Ritchie (who is off for Matt Fagerson) warrants no further action. Scotland 24-10 to the good as we resume.

17:45

Turner tears away to ten

George Turner’s opening try, which came at the end of a belligerent march from the game’s first line-out, signalled the hooker’s 10th Scotland try, a figure which surely puts him in van der Merwe territory if you factor in positional handicaps?

40'

Scots happy at half-time?

Referee Karl Dickson signals the end of a frantic first-half but one in which Scotland have already got a vast chunk of the job done. Tries from George Turner, Duhan van der Merwe, Kyle Steyn and Rory Darge, with two conversions courtesy of Finn Russell, has afforded Gregor Townsend’s team a well-merited cushion.

Tonga are not without talent, with Solomone Kata’s lovely finish serving plenty notice of such potential. There may be a red card coming for Kata’s fellow winger Afusipa Taumoepeau, whose fate still awaits from those on bunker duty.

17:32

Nelson impressed with Scots’ start

Scotland’s Helen Nelson: “A great start with a couple of early entries into the Tongan 22m. We’ve built into the game and had joy attacking more directly in the latter stages of the first half. Kyle Steyn has looked very dangerous in attack and is linking well with Russell to get Scotland on the front foot. Scotland need to remain wary of Tonga with the likes of Piutau, who has the ability to create something out of nothing.”

17:55

Scotland should continue to dictate and attack, says Nelson

Scotland’s Helen Nelson: “I think we still need to have the mindset to attack and take the game to Tonga. We need to continue to use our kicking game to get into the right areas of the pitch and not overplay. It’s all about building continuity and confidence for the Romania and then Ireland matches.”

40'

Try Scotland! Rory races over!

That bonus point that we were expressly not speaking of has now been delivered with the last play of the half. From that penalty scrum, Rory Darge bolts his way over for a fourth Scotland try – he’s somewhat prolific is the open side flanker. Conversion good and the men in dark blue look good value at 24-10.

33'

Ritchie off for now

That head-high shot on Ritchie has seen the Scotland skipper removed for a head injury assessment, with Matt Fagerson coming on in his stead. While that was going on, Blair Kinghorn also went down, but he’s stayed on for the time being.

17:30

The more things change, the more they Steyn the same

Ten international tries now for Kyle Steyn, with half of them coming against this afternoon’s opponents, Tonga.

39'

Last call for the first half; Scotland penalty in prime position

Tonga not rolling away and Scotland go close, first through Jack Dempsey and then Duhan van der Merwe, but some excellent defence keeps them at bay. The advantage isn’t used, however, and Scotland will opt for a scrum five metres out.

29'

Try Scotland! Kyle canters home!

He absolutely loves playing Tonga, and now Kyle Sten has a fifth try in two appearances against them. It’s Finn Russell at the centre, of course, with his double miss-pass finding Steyn who kicked out of a flailing red-shirted tackler to ease away for his 10th Scotland try. Russell’s conversion attempt hits the post but his side are 17-10 to the good.

20'

Terrific Tonga try

We know how dangerous Tonga can be with the quality they possess and Solomone Kata, who has already made waves in this game with his physicality, gets on the end of a delightful Salesi Piutau offload to trot up the right touchline to give the men in red the lead. William Havili’s conversion adds another two and all of a sudden, Tonga lead 10-7 in Nice.

33'

Potential red card for Tonga winger?

The bunker is the go-to theses days, it would appear. Tonga winger Afusipa Taumoepeau goes in high on Jamie Ritchie and is shown a yellow card which, you’d have to think, will be upgraded in the ten-minute interim available.

13'

Ahki finds telling touch

Scotland threaten another try as Chris Harris pierces through, offloading to Blair Kinghorn who in turn finds Kyle Steyn, but the ball is lost and Tonga 12 Pita Ahki finds all of 50 metres with a brilliant touch-finder. Tonga settling nicely in southern France.

24'

Sutherland shows sprinting prowess

Scotland huffing and puffing against some brutish defence but they make quick yards when loosened Rory Sutherland, who has been known to rampage with ball in hand, spots a gap and gets 20 metres of territory.

Finn Russell’s cross field kick is almost grabbed by Kyle Steyn, but TMO Ben Whitehouse spies an infringement by way of a no-arms tackle by Havili on the Scotland winger. Scotland penalty.

25'

Try Scotland! Duhan does the damage!

Scotland take full advantage of that Tongan transgression, and from the line-out after that penalty, Finn Russell feeds Blair Kinghorn, who draws the defence and puts in Duhan van der Merwe for his 21st Scotland try in simple fashion. Conversion missed but Scotland are back in the lead at 12-10.

7'

Scrum penalty for Tonga; first points for Pacific Islanders

Rory Sutherland is penalised for collapsing a scrum on Scotland’s 10m line, and David Havili, brother of All Black David, makes no mistake from the centre of the pitch to reduce arrears to four at 7-3 Scotland.

15'

50:22 from Finn

Finn Russell checks what’s ahead and from just inside his own half, the playmaker manages to gift his forwards a line-out throw as the ball bounces tantalisingly inside Tonga’s 22. It amounts to little but Scotland bossing the territorial tussle.

5'

Try Scotland! Ten for Turner!

Scotland get precisely what they’re after in Nice, winning a penalty for offside and kicking to touch for an attacking platform. Perfect dart from George Turner who finds Richie Gray and then Scotland obliterate the Tongan defence, Turner reaching double figures after some seamless set-piece savagery. Finn Russell converts, 7-0 Scotland.

1'

Scotland – Tonga off and running in Pool B

Scotland’s crucial (they all are at this stage) match-up with Tonga is now live, William Havili performing the usual honours by hoisting the ball high into the Nice sky, with the ball safely snaffled by Jack Dempsey. Ben White clears and Tonga have possession around half-way early doors.

16:16

Kyle smiles in 2021

Kyle Steyn, with no fewer than four tries against Tonga on his first start for Scotland in 2021, has the fondest of memories against today’s opposition. The Glasgow Warriors winger has gone on to register a further five tries in dark blue, his tally of nine from only 13 caps as prolific as any other.

From that 2021 Murrayfield meeting, Scotland have named six starters in the form of Steyn, Sione Tuipulotu, Blair Kinghorn, George Turner, Zander Fagerson and Jamie Ritchie; Darcy Graham, Pierre Schoeman and Matt Fagerson are among the replacements this afternoon and also featured in that 60-14 success two years ago.

 

2'

Kinghorn close to outrageous opener

It’s an unbelievable start for Scotland – almost. Blair Kinghorn chases his own kick fully 50 metres with searing pace, hunting down and all-but touching down, the ball’s ricochet off the post saving Tonga and forcing a break-neck knock-on from Scotland’s full-back. Tonga scrum five metres out.

16:07

Nelson says Scots need breakdown breakthrough

Throughout this afternoon’s game, we’ll be hearing from Scotland Women vice-captain Helen Nelson, who is preparing to face Spain next Saturday 30 September at Hive Stadium.

On how Scotland can meet the challenge of Tonga, Helen says: “It’s a huge match for us against Tonga. They are an exciting and physical outfit with offloading threats across the board. It’s going to be important for us to dominate the breakdown area, that starts by carrying hard but also varying the point of attack. There will be space in the backfield to exploit so expect to see a variety of kicks. It’s vital these are followed up with a strong kick chase as Tonga have some elusive back-three players.”

16:31

Win first and foremost, says Nelson

Scotland centre Helen Nelson says any talk of bonus points should be kept to one side as beating Tonga needs to be seen as the sole priority ahead of the game: “The leaders in the team will be aware of the need for a BP but I wouldn’t say it’ll be a key message for the team. They need to focus on the job at hand first, which is getting points on the board and securing a win.”

16:24

All change for Tonga

 

Tonga are not the Tonga of 2021, who shipped ten tries when they visited Edinburgh. The class of Rugby World Cup 2023 boast four former All Blacks in their starting XV, with Salesi (Charles to many) Piutau one of the finest outside backs of his generation.

From that 2021 selection, only three – all forwards – remain in the squad for today’s Pool B encounter: Paula Ngauamo (hooker), Halaleva Fifita (second row) and flanker Tanginoa Halaifonua are the only ones who experienced that shellacking two years ago.

15:55

Yesterday’s Press Conference

Hear from Scotland’s Sione Tuipulotu, Rory Darge & Defence Coach, Steve Tandy during their eve of the match press conference.

16:00

Today’s kick-off times

Here is a reminder of when today’s game kicks off wherever you are in the world.

15:10

The Opposition

15:45

New Podcast Episode

On this week’s episode of the Official Scottish Rugby Podcast we are delighted to be joined by Scottish former rugby union coach and player, Jim Telfer.

Chris and Caroline review Scotland’s performance against current champions South Africa, look ahead to Tonga and reminisce on Jim’s own Rugby World Cup experiences.

You can listen to the full episode now on the Scottish Rugby website, Spotify, PodBean and more.

LISTEN NOW

15:25

Double-header next weekend!

Next Saturday, get behind Scotland at home with two exciting internationals! Scotland Women take on Spain at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh at 5.45pm, ticket holders can then cheer on Scotland Men in the Tennent’s Up & Under at Scottish Gas Murrayfield when they face Romania at 7.30pm.

SECURE YOUR TICKETS NOW

 

15:35

Duhan at Team Run

15:05

Your Scotland Team

15:15

Head Coach Gregor Townsend on Team Selection

09:00

It’s Game Day!

Scotland take on Tonga today at 4.45pm BST at Stade de Nice in their second Rugby World Cup pool fixture.

Join us here for all the match build-up and live updates from 3pm BST.

Watch the match live on STV/ITV.

15:00

Match Preview

Get ready for the game with our Match Preview

80:00 Second Half End

82:58

Russell

81:56

Graham

77:02

Pellegrini
Havili

76:42

Fifita

69:52

Paea
Havili

69:14

Koloamatangi
Fisi'ihoi

69:06

Russell

67:50

Kinghorn

66:00

Apikotoa
Tameifuna

64:43

Skinner
Gray

58:15

Nel
Fagerson

58:14

Ashman
Turner

54:56

Vailanu
Halaifonua

54:55

Coleman
Lousi

54:54

Takulua
Pulu

54:43

Russell

53:23

Horne

51:29

Moli
Ngauamo

47:46

Schoeman
Sutherland

47:45

Jones
Harris

47:44

Horne
White

47:43

Graham
Steyn

44:24

Havili

43:08

Tameifuna

40:00 First Half End

42:01

Russell

41:22

Darge

33:25

Fagerson
Ritchie

33:03

Taumoepeau

29:32

Steyn

25:05

van der Merwe

20:48

Havili

19:24

Kata

09:28

Havili

05:42

Russell

04:30

Turner

Kick-off 4:45 pm

tries

7

conversion goals

5

penalty goals

0

kick success

19

possession

57

tackles

108

scrums won

6

lineouts won

18

clean breaks

14

turnovers conceded

16

yellow cards

0

red cards

0

tries

2

conversion goals

2

penalty goals

1

kick success

18

possession

42

tackles

151

scrums won

10

lineouts won

4

clean breaks

1

turnovers conceded

13

yellow cards

1

red cards

1

Scotland Men

Tonga