Scotland v Tonga LIVE: Rugby World Cup 2023 result and reaction as Scots claim crucial win

Scotland got their Rugby World Cup campaign back on track with a bonus-point 45-17 victory over Tonga in their clash in Nice on Sunday to keep their quarter-final hopes alive in Pool B.

The win may have come at a cost too with captain Jamie Ritchie forced off in the first half following a blow to the head in a tackle from Tongan winger Afusipa Taumoepeau, who was perhaps fortunate to see the colour of his card remain yellow.

Wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn each crossed for tries, along with George Turner, Rory Darge, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham, as Scotland used the width of the field and space left by some poor Tonga defending.

The Pacific Islanders put in huge hits in the tackle, but also showed they have an enterprising attack at times and managed tries through Solomone Kata and giant prop Ben Tameifuna.

Number eight Vaea Fifita was the second Tongan player to receive a bunker yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Finn Russell with three minutes remaining, with the sanction subsequently upgraded to a sending off.

Scotland vs Tonga live

  • Scotland beatTonga at the Rugby World Cup to keep their quarter-final hopes alive


  • TRY! SCOTLAND 38-17 Tonga (Blair Kinghorn try, 69 minutes)

  • TRY! SCOTLAND 31-17 Tonga (George Horne try, 54 minutes)

  • TRY! Scotland 24-17 TONGA (Ben Tameifuna try, 44 minutes)

  • HALF TIME: Scotland 24-10 Tonga

  • TRY! SCOTLAND 24-10 Tonga (Rory Darge try, 42 minutes)

  • TRY! SCOTLAND 17-10 Tonga (Kyle Steyn try, 31 minutes)

  • TRY! SCOTLAND 12-10 Tonga (Duhan van der Merwe try, 26 minutes)

  • TRY! Scotland 7-10 TONGA (Solomone Kata try, 20 minutes)

  • TRY! SCOTLAND 7-0 Tonga (George Turner try, 5 minutes)


Scotland romp to vital bonus-point victory over Tonga

19:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland romped to the bonus-point victory they required over Tonga at Stade de Nice to kick-start their World Cup campaign and keep alive their hopes of qualification for the knockout phase.

The pressure was on Gregor Townsend’s side after losing their first game to South Africa and then seeing Ireland defeat the Boks on Saturday, a scenario that left them with no margin for error and in need of big victories from their remaining fixtures.

The Scots kept their composure, however, and showed their attacking quality to get themselves a foothold in the top-heavy pool B by recording a 45-17 win over Tonga, with their seven tries all scored by different players.

Scotland romp to vital bonus-point victory over Tonga

Scotland beat Tonga to keep quarter final hopes alive

19:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That just about does us for our coverage of Scotland’s win over Tonga, but there’s more rugby to come tonight, of course, with Wales and Australia in Lyon for a vital Pool C encounter. After defeat to Fiji last weekend, the Wallabies have to win, but rumours are already swirling over Eddie Jones’s future after a report this morning that the head coach held exploratory conversations about a possible return to Japan just days before this tournament got underway.

My colleague Ben Fleming will be your guide for that one, while Luke Baker has hopped down from Paris to Lyon to provide on-the-ground updates. Will Warren Gatland land a knockout blow on one of his favourite sparring partners?

Wales v Australia LIVE: Rugby World Cup 2023 latest updates

Scotland beat Tonga to keep quarter final hopes alive

18:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“We’ve been based here for a few weeks and it’s an amazing night seeing our fans here - we really enjoyed it tonight,” Duhan van der Merwe tells the BBC.

“To be honest, it was tough out there. The first half hour, I’ve never been hit like that before. The body will be sore tomorrow. With boys like Finn, Sione and Blair giving me opportunities, it’s amazing.”

FT: Scotland 45-17 Tonga

18:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Confirmation has come through that Vaea Fifita’s yellow was upgraded to a red in the bunker, by the way.

FT: Scotland 45-17 Tonga

18:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We should note that Jamie Ritchie did not return after leaving the field for a head injury assessment after Afusipa Taumoepeau’s tackle. That’s one to monitor this week - best wishes to the Scotland captain.

FT: Scotland 45-17 Tonga

18:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

As for Tonga, you’d say that was an improvement over their performance against Ireland, but the defensive issues haven’t gone away. Two shoulder-to-head contacts won’t please Toutai Kefu either - Afusipa Taumoepeau was pretty fortunate, you’d say, that his high tackle was upgraded to a red and the nature of Vaea Fifita’s challenge means that there is surely a good chance a ban is incoming for the back rower.

Just the small matter of South Africa up next for Kefu’s side. Far from ideal. That’s in Marseille next Sunday, a day after Scotland vs Romania in Lille.

FT: Scotland 45-17 Tonga

18:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A few moments of concern for Gregor Townsend, but, in the end, a pretty solid all-round performance from Scotland, keeping their last eight hopes alive. The bonus point try arrived before half-time and from there it was just a case of avoiding a total collapse, which the Scots did in typically fun fashion as Duhan van der Merwe, Blair Kinghorn and Darcy Graham strutted their stuff in wide channels. Finn Russell pulled the strings typically effectively - on to Romania they go...


18:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

TRY! SCOTLAND 45-17 Tonga (Darcy Graham try, 83 minutes)

18:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A wondrous weave from Darcy Graham as Scotland have the final word!

Tonga get their lineout all wrong and Finn Russell fancies one last dance. Graham crabs infield off his right wing as he spots space close to a ruck, trusting the sharp George Horne to have spied it too and connecting with his fellow replacement.

There’s still all of 60 metres to cover, but Graham can do that in a flash, putting Charles Piutau in bother with snaking hips and then out-pacing a weary chaser to the line. Over goes the conversion, and that’s that!

Scotland 38-17 Tonga, 81 minutes

18:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A Tonga knock on gives Scotland one last shot. Blair Kinghorn and Finn Russell combine again but the former is felled, and Tonga win a breakdown penalty.

Scotland are then marched ten yards further back for a bit of backchat. Coventry’s Patrick Pellegrini, on for a World Cup debut, kicks beyond halfway.

Scotland 38-17 Tonga, 79 minutes

18:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It matters not. Sterling work from the Tongan tight five and the penalty is theirs. This has been a spirited last ten minutes, even with the game gone.

Scotland 38-17 Tonga, 78 minutes

18:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s a good moment from Glasgow’s Sione Vailanu, up against plenty of familiar foes after coming off the bench, and pilfering breakdown ball with an American football style snap. His toss between the legs is grounded by a teammate in-goal, though - five-metre scrum, Scotland’s feed.

Yellow card and on review! Scotland 38-17 Tonga, 77 minutes

18:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s a tucked arm, so it’ll meet the yellow card threshold regardless. Vaea Fifita will play no further part - the incident is on review and it looks like there may well have been head contact as the number eight charged into a maul. We may not find out about an upgrade until after the game’s conclusion.

Scotland 38-17 Tonga, 77 minutes

18:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Check check”, calls TMO Ben Whitehouse as Karl Dickson wanders over to look at the screen. What has Vaea Fifita’s shoulder connected with?

Scotland 38-17 Tonga, 76 minutes

18:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Still, any chances of a late Tonga rally appear slim. A penalty allows Finn Russell to return his forward pack to the left corner...although the set piece is an ugly old thing, with Scottish bodies all over the place and the ball eventually ending up in Tongan hands.

Scotland 38-17 Tonga, 74 minutes

18:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Held up! Credit to Tonga - this has been some excellent scramble defence in the last few minutes. The Finn Russell/Blair Kinghorn connection seems to have cut them open conclusively once more but Pita Ahki makes a remarkable ankle-biting tackle as Kinghorn lines up his dive for the line, and his teammates arrive to deny the next Scottish carrier as they biff around the corner.

Scotland 38-17 Tonga, 70 minutes

18:28 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Goodness is Duhan van der Merwe tough to tackle. The wing threatens to go from coast-to-coast, initially flying up the fast lane and then picking his exit to connect with his teammates. His inward arc leads to a wide pass and there are Scottish shirts waiting on the right, but a little fumble ends the movement as a relieved Tonga suck in deep breaths.

TRY! SCOTLAND 38-17 Tonga (Blair Kinghorn try, 69 minutes)

18:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Another Finn Russell assist with Blair Kinghorn the beneficiary!

Patience from Scotland, varying their questions as Tonga fatigued. A deft inside ball nearly sent Pierre Schoman over but there’s no-one in front of Kinghorn as Russell picks his moment to put the long-striding full back into space. The fly half converts.

Scotland 31-17 Tonga, 67 minutes

18:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tonga are offside. Scotland tap and play away quickly.

Scotland 31-17 Tonga, 66 minutes

18:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland just seem to have lifted their intensity, perhaps wanting to put this game totally to bed. A collective defensive effort results in a penalty as a Tongan dives off their feet to try and prevent Pierre Schoeman contesting at a ruck. Finn Russell kicks to the corner as Ben Tameifuna finally takes leave, the tighthead having gone an impressive 66 minutes. Sosefo Apikotoa takes over in the Tongan defensive lineout five metres from their own line.

Scotland 31-17 Tonga, 65 minutes

18:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Better from Scotland, injecting a bit of pace on the left. Ashman dents a Tongan chest with his carry but a fumble on the floor costs the Scots, with their protestations of a misdeed by a Pacific Islander not heard by Karl Dickson. Just a scrum, as Sam Skinner joins the fray in Richie Gray’s place.

Scotland 31-17 Tonga, 63 minutes

18:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ewan Ashman is the latest hooker to lose a lineout, he and the lifted player a half-beat off in the choreography and the ball tumbling forwards off Scottish fingers. This game has become a little bit stop-start after quite a fluent first half.

Scotland 31-17 Tonga, 61 minutes

18:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Sharp breakdown work from Leva Fifita, drawing a penalty out of the tackled Scotland player with a well timed jackal.

But Tonga’s lineout woes cost them again. Sam Moli has taken over for Paula Ngauamo but the dart is off-line and called as much by the officiating team.

Scotland 31-17 Tonga, 59 minutes

18:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tonga maul but Takulua gets his hands in a tangle as he tries to extract, and the replacement scrum half can’t quite regather. Scotland kick long to flip the field as the Tongan kick is skewed shallowly into touch.

Scotland 31-17 Tonga, 57 minutes

18:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Sonatane Takulua is on to try and steady things at scrum half for Tonga, the now France-based nine’s first job feeding a scrum inside his own 22. Malakai Fekitoa and Pita Ahki combine to take Tonga out of their own red area, but Matt Fagerson wrestles Charles Piutau to the ground as the full back tries to build on his centres’ hard work.

Scotland infringe at the breakdown. Adam Coleman is on in the Tonga second row, too - that’s a second international debut for the former Wallaby, who won 38 Australia caps between 2016 and 2019.

TRY! SCOTLAND 31-17 Tonga (George Horne try, 54 minutes)

18:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A piece of individual brilliance from Duhan van der Merwe and George Horne slides over in the corner!

Magnificent from Scotland’s Mr Incredible. There appears nothing on as Van der Merwe takes a pass on the hop with four Tongan defenders coming across to him, but Van der Merwe has other ideas, throwing Solomone Kata aside, powering free from Charles Piutau and fending away Vaea Fifita. Horne has the bright idea to stay in the juggernaut’s slipstream, taking his pass and slipping free of the last defender. Finn Russell adds the extras.

Scotland 24-17 Tonga, 52 minutes

18:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland’s own attempts to throw to the back of the lineout are disrupted, with Leva Fifita getting a big right paw to the ball. His volleyball spike goes forward, though. Scotland’s scrum on halfway.

Scotland 24-17 Tonga, 51 minutes

18:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s why Pierre Schoeman’s on - the loosehead grinds Ben Tameifuna down in an extended scrum to win a penalty and allow Scotland to exit in comfort.

Scotland 24-17 Tonga, 50 minutes

18:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Overthrown! Ah, Tonga, that’s not what you need, calling to the tail with Scotland frontloading but finding slightly too much amplitude on Paula Ngauamo’s toss. A flick of the fingers is deemed to have travelled forward - it’ll be Scotland’s scrum feed.

Scotland 24-17 Tonga, 49 minutes

18:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A penalty to Tonga, 15 in, 22 out. Ben Tameifuna gathers his senior leaders together...and calls for the corner. William Havili finds it.

Scotland 24-17 Tonga, 48 minutes

18:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And Tonga seem to have a bit of momentum now. A skidding kick from Charles Piutau is perfectly directed, and Blair Kinghorn slides into touch trying to prevent a 50/22.

Gregor Townsend makes changes, hoping to spark his side back into life. Pierre Schoeman, Huw Jones, George Horne and Darcy Graham all on.

Scotland 24-17 Tonga, 47 minutes

17:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That really was a silly 30 seconds from Scotland, first throwing a lineout metres from their own line in haste and then clearing to nowhere in particular. Takes nothing away from the finish, though - not bad from a man whose listed weight is in excess of 150 kilos.

TRY! Scotland 24-17 TONGA (Ben Tameifuna try, 44 minutes)

17:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And the big man is moving!

What a finish from Ben Tameifuna! Kata had made a great crater up the middle and the tighthead prop is an unlikely figure to capitalise, skipping and stepping away from Finn Russell before planting his massive hand into Richie Gray’s chest, churning the legs and driving to the line as two more Scottish bodies try in vain to halt him. William Havili converts - now then...

Scotland 24-10 Tonga, 43 minutes

17:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tonga almost work somethig clever at the frong of a lineout, but stray into touch on the right seven metres from Scotland’s line.

Hold on - Scotland have thrown a quick lineout and that’s an awful clearance. Solomone Kata runs it back with interest...

Scotland 24-10 Tonga, 42 minutes

17:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Taumoepeau’s ten minutes in the bin have elapsed but Scotland keep the ball alive, hoping to break through a depleted Tongan defensive line. But a couple of forwards get themselves in a muddle, Rory Sutherland carrying into a teammate’s derriere, and Karl Dickson whistles for a penalty.

Taumopeau is back amongst things.

Second half...and Afusipa Taumoepeau will return!

17:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

News from the bunker - Afusipa Taumoepeau’s yellow card will not be upgraded. He’ll be back on shortly.

For now, though, Tonga’s 14 are back underway.

HT: Scotland 24-10 Tonga

17:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The Independent’s columnist Stuart Hogg wrote this week that Scotland might have to be patient to get that fourth score, but it does feel like they’ve got slightly too much attacking invention for a Tonga side that are still gelling together having not played a tier one nation in their warm-up fixtures. Finn Russell’s range of passing has really tested their edge defence.

HT: Scotland 24-10 Tonga

17:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Four tries and a bonus point already in the bag for Scotland, surviving some punishing hits and Charles Piutau magic to take a significant half time lead down the tunnel. No word yet on whether Afusipa Taumoepeau’s yellow card will be upgraded, but it feels like a long way back for Tonga regardless, the Pacific Island side fading a little as the half wore on, particularly defensively.

George Turner got it all started with a maul score to please the purists. Beefy.

HALF TIME: Scotland 24-10 Tonga

17:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

TRY! SCOTLAND 24-10 Tonga (Rory Darge try, 42 minutes)

17:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There’s the bonus point score!

Rory Darge can probably count himself as slightly fortunate. It looks very much like the flanker has been tackled by Tanginoa Halaifonua, knee on the floor with the Tongan’s arms still wrapped around his ankle, but referee Karl Dickson permits him to plough on anyway. Darge duly does, scrambling over beneath the posts. Finn Russell’s conversion is the final action of a pleasing half for Scotland.

Scotland 17-10 Tonga, 40 minutes

17:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Why didn’t Ben White give it? Advantage is coming for Scotland and Finn Russell is screaming for it, three or four blue shirts outside him as his scrum half waits for the ball to emerge. When it comes, though, White dummies and darts himself, slamming into a Tongan bollard, and when stand-in scrum half Rory Sutherland regenerates possession, Tonga’s defence had pushed wide enough to force Duhan van der Merwe into touch.

Back for the penalty. Scotland take the scrum option and draw another infringement out of the Tonga eight.

Scotland 17-10 Tonga, 38 minutes

17:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tonga’s 14 men do a good job of defending Scotland’s next attacking opportunity, Duhan van der Merwe snared at the shoelaces and then pulled back from behind after getting back to his feet to go again.

Scotland play for territory, turning Tonga with only one defender in the backfield. Charles Piutau is that man and tries to extricate himself with typically quick footwork, but is thrown out of play by Scott Cummings. A good chance of a bonus point before half-time for Scotland, here.

Scotland 17-10 Tonga, 36 minutes

17:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ritchie is replaced by Matt Fagerson with the Scotland captain righly off for a head injury assessment. His charges can’t make the most of their opportunity up the left, though, running out of room and knocking on seven metres or so short.

YELLOW CARD AND ON REVIEW! Scotland 17-10 Tonga, 34 minutes

17:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It meets the yellow card threshold - there’s a bit of a dip from Ritchie but the foul play review officer may well rule that a red, shoulder direct to head with significant force and limited mitigation. Afusipa Taumoepeau goes to the sin bin for now - remember, they have eight minutes to decide whether to upgrade the sanction or not.

Scotland 17-10 Tonga, 33 miutes

17:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tonga get into Scotland’s 22 soon after the restart but cough up possession, and off Scotland go, feeling it now and prepared to play wide even deep in their own territory. A wide pass doesn’t quite find the intended recipient but the bouncing ball is effectively corralled, and off they go up towards halfway.

Ouch! Jamie Ritchie takes a shoulder to the head and I reckon Afusipa Taumoepeau is in trouble here...

TRY! SCOTLAND 17-10 Tonga (Kyle Steyn try, 31 minutes)

17:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Another Scotland try!

Ooh, Finn Russell is starting to show off his range. His pass for Blair Kinghorn in the build-up to the last try was a beauty off his right hand, and this one is just as good off his left, three Tonga defenders left with scorched eyebrows as they watch it go across their faces. Kyle Steyn is the recipient and the Glasgow Warriors captain shrugs off a tackler to get to the line.

Another miss from the tee from Russell.

Scotland 12-10 Tonga, 29 minutes

17:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There’s been a good tempo to this game, with both sides looking lively enough in attack. Tonga’s latest effort is ended by a clearout away from the ball from openside Sione Havili Talitui on Rory Darge. Scotland kick the penalty down to about 15 metres out.

TRY! SCOTLAND 12-10 Tonga (Duhan van der Merwe try, 26 minutes)

17:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s what Scotland can do!

A nicely constructed score from Scotland, though Tonga will be disappointed with how easily they were opened up. Sione Tuipulotu finds Finn Russell with an accurate pull-back pass and Solomone Kata is too narrow as the edge defender, allowing Russell to fizz one of his trademark flat passes and put an onrushing Blair Kinghorn into space. Draw, pass, try - Duhan van der Merwe scores untouched.

Scotland 7-10 Tonga, 24 minutes

17:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Russell thus kicks away slow ball, with Kyle Steyn chasing well and given a rather ugly shunt by William Havili as the Tonga fly half arrives. TMO Ben Whitehouse calls down to referee Karl Dickson, who awards a penalty; Scotland return to Tonga’s 22.

Scotland 7-10 Tonga, 23 minutes

17:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Rory Sutherland hasn’t perhaps been at his best since becoming a Lions tourist two years ago, but he shows a bit of the dynamism in the loose that so caught the eye during the first half of this cycle, spinning away from a couple of Tonga defenders. Scotland’s inaccuracy remains the problem, though, Finn Russell trying to arc into space but the pass pulled back too far behind the fly-half.

TRY! Scotland 7-10 TONGA (Solomone Kata try, 20 minutes)

17:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A marvellous offload and Solomone Kata is in!

This is much, much better from Tonga in this first 20 minutes compared to their flat first quarter against Ireland. They narrow the Scottish defence by presenting both centres as carrying options, Pita Ahki niftily flicking to a sweeping William Havili out the back door. The fly half spreads it to the right, allowing Kata to make ground up the touchline.

Tonga reload and draw penalty advantage, and Charles Piutau spots the opportunity. Piutau injects himself at first receiver on the blindside, slipping out of a tackle and forcing the last defender to step in, contorting his arms around him and setting up Kata, who does the rest. Havili’s conversion is a good’un, too.

Scotland 7-3 Tonga, 19 minutes

17:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Punchy stuff. Sione Tuipulotu very nearly takes an uncomfortable tumble as Pita Ahki goes low in the tackle, a stabilising hand from the Scotland centre perhaps saving his opposite number from a penalty as he flipped over the Tongan tackler.

No harm done, though, and Tonga reset well defensively. They’ll have the scrum feed after the water break following another Scottish fumble.

Scotland 7-3 Tonga, 17 minutes

17:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland make initial ground after the lineout but again fail to properly keep their belongings secure. That’s a second successive 22 entry that passes without a point.

Scotland 7-3 Tonga, 15 minutes

17:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Yeesh! Solomone Kata gets some revenge on Duhan van der Merwe, bashing the wing back some five metres or so as he takes contact. It’s a physical start in Nice.

But that’s a bit more cultured from Finn Russell, taking turnover ball and making the most of it with an intelligent 50/22, pivoting his hips to find the backfield space on Tonga’s defensive left.

Scotland 7-3 Tonga, 13 minutes

17:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s more of what Duhan van der Merwe likes, stomping his way into and out of a couple of tackles in quick succession as Tonga struggle to get to grips with his enormous thighs.

Scotland play to the right, with Chris Harris pressing the accelerator and linking with Blair Kinghorn and Kyle Steyn. Steyn curves inwards but takes a tonking from a retreating Tongan, and the ball pops into Charles Piutau’s midriff, allowing the Pacific Islanders to clear.

Scotland 7-3 Tonga, 11 minutes

16:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland’s aerial work has been a bit untidy so far, getting themselves in good position to tap back Finn Russell’s floated restart but instead spilling it forward. Duhan van der Merwe just seemed to lose the ball slightly in the bright evening sunshine.

Four handling errors already for the Scots.

PENALTY! Scotland 7-3 TONGA (William Havili penalty, 10 minutes)

16:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

William Havili’s left boot is on the money from just left of centre. Tonga are on the board.

Scotland 7-0 Tonga, 8 minutes

16:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland fumble inside their own half, granting Tonga an attacking platform. Rory Sutherland collapses under the strain of the boulder-like Ben Tameifuna, and when Tonga can’t make the most of a grubber, Karl Dickson calls them back to the penalty.

Tameifuna points at the posts.

TRY! SCOTLAND 7-0 Tonga (George Turner try, 5 minutes)

16:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What a maul! Oh, that is a thing of muscular beauty from the Scottish forwards, parting the red sea of Tonga shirts in arrow-head formation and motoring the remaining 15 metres to the line. George Turner applies the finishing touches, Finn Russell converts - crikey that is some sort of physical statement.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Scotland 0-0 Tonga, 4 minutes

16:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland’s lineout fails to function after Tonga clear their lines, but the advancing Pacific Islanders were over eager, and are pinged for offside. Finn Russell sends his forwards down into the 22.

Scotland 0-0 Tonga, 2 minutes

16:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tonga go to the air and get joy, Scotland knocking on as they try to claim. But Tonga are wasteful, playing a couple of aimless phases and then tossing the ball to a blue shirt.

Kicked ahead, pure pace from Blair Kinghorn! The full-back is like a thoroughbred racehorse on the chase, and gets to the ball first...but can’t collect cleanly with the try line begging! Wow. All Kinghorn had to do was gather and ground from a yard out but through his fingertips it slips!

Scotland 0-0 Tonga, 1 minute

16:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The opening kick off lands in the hands of Jack Dempsey, who puts some footwork on Solomone Kata but can’t beat the Leciester bound wing. Scotland clear up beyond halfway, from where Charles Piutau shimmies, but Jamie Ritchie locks his limbs around the full back to prevent further progress.


16:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tonga fly half William Havili gets us underway in Nice.

Sipi Tau

16:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tonga assemble in formation for the Sipi Tau, laying down their challenge, with Sonatane Takulua leading the charge.

Here we go. Can Tonga spring a surprise and end Scotland’s quarter-final hopes?

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Scotland vs Tonga

16:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The retuned version of “Flower of Scotland” sounds much better than the first rendition at this tournament, with World Rugby seemingly having figured the anthem issues out.

The Tonga players drape fists over hearts as they sing along to “Ko e fasi Ê»o e tuÊ»i Ê»o e Ê»Otu Tonga”, some closing their eyes in reflection.

Scotland vs Tonga

16:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Out come the players, stepping out on to a Stade de Nice pitch holding a fourth game in eight days. It still looks in decent nick - there was a fair bit of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday which freshened it up.

Anthems time.

Scotland vs Tonga

16:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Scotland have probably gone with their biggest possible backline, perhaps bracing for the physical challenge Tonga will provide. They are a powerful side anyway, but you wonder what sort of impact their six bench forwards might be able to have if they are able to stick with the Scots in the first 60 minutes.

Scotland vs Tonga

16:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England’s Karl Dickson is the referee today, with Wales’ Ben Whitehouse on TMO duties. The standard of officiating across the last two weekends has been very high, I’d say - I thought Ben O’Keeffe had an excellent game in Paris last night.

Scotland vs Tonga

16:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s another scorcher on the Cote d’Azur, where Scotland have been based since arriving in France. I was in Nice until Wednesday and the place was already packed with Scottish fans - Finn Russell got a massive cheer when his name was announced on the public address system.

A win is a must, then, for Scotland, but you fancy that Tonga will really have been targeting this game. They were below their best against Ireland, a performance of individuals rather than a team, but Toutai Kefu has promised his side will be better today.

Scotland vs Tonga talking points

16:29 , Luke Baker

Have the Boks dented Scottish morale?

Scotland came into the tournament with genuine belief they could win their opener against South Africa so there was an air of deflation among the squad in the immediate aftermath.

The fact they had no game last weekend means there is unlikely to be any physical or mental hangover. The players had three days of downtime with their families to get the Boks defeat out of their systems, and have been in good spirits when facing the media, seeming desperate to get back on the horse and show their opening-day flop was a mere blip.

Scotland vs Tonga talking points

16:20 , Luke Baker

Scottish attack must spark

The defeat by South Africa was the first time Scotland had failed to score a try for almost three years and their lowest-scoring outing since the first game of the 2019 World Cup.

Townsend’s team have become renowned for their swashbuckling attacking play so it was unusual to see them look so blunt. With softer opposition this weekend, they should get themselves back over the try-line but, with tougher tests ahead and the need to atone for falling flat against the Springboks, there is a sense that the Scots – with Kyle Steyn replacing Darcy Graham on the wing – could do with delivering an exuberant attacking performance.

Scotland vs Tonga talking points

16:11 , Luke Baker

Return of the two Lions

Of the eight Scotland players who toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2021, only Zander Fagerson, Finn Russell and Duhan van der Merwe can still be considered regular starters for the national team.

Stuart Hogg retired earlier this summer while Rory Sutherland, Chris Harris, Ali Price and Hamish Watson – although still in the squad – have become less prominent. Prop Sutherland and centre Harris, however, have been given a rare chance to start this weekend and remind everyone of their qualities.

Scotland vs Tonga talking points

16:02 , Luke Baker

No margin for error

After losing the opener to the Springboks, Scotland will almost certainly have to win all three of their remaining pool fixtures against Tonga, Romania and Ireland if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.

Depending on results elsewhere in the section, bonus-point victories are also likely to be required. Scotland are red-hot favourites to get the result they need today, and have generally been very good at dealing with lower-ranked opponents, but there is an extra degree of pressure attached.

Rory Sutherland hopes strong show against Tonga helps him find a fresh challenge

15:53 , Luke Baker

Rory Sutherland is hoping his surprise recall to the Scotland starting XV for Sunday’s must-win World Cup showdown with Tonga can help him in his “stressful” search for a new club.

The 31-year-old prop is in the unusual position of being deemed strong enough to start for the fifth highest-ranked team in the world at the global showpiece event but unable, so far, to land himself a contract for the campaign ahead.

After a short-term deal with Ulster last term was not extended, largely due to the impending arrival of South African loosehead Steven Kitshoff at the Belfast club after the World Cup, Sutherland is intent on using his second start for Scotland in 19 months to showcase himself to any potential suitors.

Rory Sutherland hopes strong show against Tonga helps him find a fresh challenge

Gregor Townsend knows only wins will do for Scotland

15:44 , Luke Baker

Gregor Townsend admitted Scotland are effectively playing knockout rugby already as he challenged his side to kick-start their World Cup campaign with a much-needed victory over Tonga.

After losing their opening match to world champions South Africa, the Scots know they will almost certainly require three wins from their remaining pool B matches against the Tongans, Romania and Ireland.

Bonus points are also likely to be a factor in deciding which sides progress to the quarter-finals from a section containing three of the world’s five highest-ranked teams.

Two weeks on from their demoralising 18-3 defeat in Marseille, Townsend has called on his team – who touched down in the south of France at the start of September with high hopes – to belatedly signal their arrival at the tournament by turning on the style against Tonga.

Gregor Townsend knows only wins will do for Scotland

Blair Kinghorn relishing status as Scotland’s main full-back at World Cup

15:35 , Luke Baker

Blair Kinghorn is relishing his elevated status as Scotland’s first-choice World Cup full back after spending most of his international career to date trying to emerge from the shadows of greats Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg.

The 26-year-old Edinburgh back has accumulated 47 caps since his debut in 2018, largely due to his versatility in being able to operate at number 15, number 10 and even on the wing.

In trying to establish himself at full back, Kinghorn found Hogg – Scotland’s record try-scorer – blocking his way to a starting place, while his bid to become an international stand-off always seemed unlikely for as long as the talismanic Russell was still at the top of his game.

Hogg’s retirement earlier this summer, however, opened the door for Kinghorn to set about making the 15 jersey his own.

Blair Kinghorn relishing status as Scotland’s main full-back at World Cup

Ireland prove they can win Rugby World Cup after beating up Springboks

15:26 , Luke Baker

Before we turn our full attention to Scotland’s clash this afternoon, let’s talk about last night...

France vs New Zealand got this Rugby World Cup off to a compelling start amid a febrile atmosphere, Wales vs Fiji provided the controversy and last-gasp drama before the Fijians then delivered the well-deserved upset against Australia. But it’s Ireland’s narrow, 13-8 win over South Africa that will go down as this tournament’s first true example of vintage, pure Test match rugby. And it was spell-binding.

The world No 1 and No 2 sides showed why they are ranked as such and, certainly now that France’s poster boy Antoine Dupont’s fractured cheekbone has become a national point of interest, it’s hard to argue that these two aren’t a cut above everyone else at the tournament.

Full report from Luke Baker in Paris:

Ireland prove they can win Rugby World Cup after beating up Springboks

Kyle Steyn urges Scotland to match Tonga physicality

15:17 , Luke Baker

Kyle Steyn has warned Scotland they must be ready to match Tonga’s physicality and passion if they are to secure the bonus-point win they require this afternoon.

The Scots go into their second match at the tournament in Nice knowing they have no margin for error remaining after losing their opening game to South Africa.

Gregor Townsend’s side will be hot favourites to get the result they need but wing Steyn insisted it would be a mistake to underestimate the patriotic Tongans, who are ranked 15th in the world and looking to bounce back from a 59-16 defeat by Ireland.

“It will be a physical test, especially at a World Cup,” he said. “Tonga has a really passionate culture, they’re big on family and they really play for each other.

“We know they’re going to be out to represent their country and their families, and that’s going to bring a lot of physicality. It’s about dealing with that and matching it.”

Kyle Steyn urges Scotland to match Tonga physicality in Rugby World Cup clash

Scotland vs Tonga referee: Who is Rugby World Cup official Karl Dickson?

15:04 , Luke Baker

It will be ex-Harlequins star Karl Dickson on the whistle for Scotland vs Tonga today. He has already taken charge of the Wales vs Portugal contest at this World Cup.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Englishman:

Scotland vs Tonga referee: Who is Rugby World Cup official Karl Dickson?

Tonga team news

14:55 , Luke Baker

Toutai Kefu, meanwhile, retains an unchanged starting 15 despite that heavy defeat to Ireland, with tighthead prop Ben Tameifuna again skippering the side. There is notable news on the bench, though, where former Australia lock Adam Coleman is set for a second international debut in the second row as part of a six forwards to two backs split.

Fly half Patrick Pellegrini, called in to replace the injured Otumaka Mausia in Tonga’s squad, also joins the replacements – the playmaker represents Coventry in England’s Championship and appeared in their Premiership Rugby Cup draw with Harlequins last weekend.

Tonga XV: Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Paula Ngauamo, Ben Tameifuna; Leva Fifita, Sam Lousi; Tanginoa Halaifonua, Sione Talitui, Vaea Fifita; Augustine Pulu, William Havili; Afusipa Taumoepeau, Pita Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, Solomone Kata; Charles Piutau.

Replacements: Sam Moli, Tau Koloamatangi, Sosefo Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Semisi Paea, Sione Vailanu; Sonatane Takulua, Patrick Pellegrini

Scotland team news

14:42 , Luke Baker

Gregor Townsend makes four changes from the side that lost to South Africa on opening weekend. Rory Sutherland comes into the front row at prop in place of Pierre Schoeman while Scott Cummings joins Richie Gray in the second row, with Grant Gilchrist dropping out of the matchday squad.

Elsewhere, Chris Harris replaces Huw Jones in the midfield and Kyle Steyn is preferred to Darcy Graham on the wings. Scrum half George Horne and hooker Ewan Ashman are both on the bench after missing the 18-3 defeat against the Springboks with concussion.

Scotland XV: Rory Sutherland, George Turner, Zander Fagerson; Richie Gray, Scott Cummings; Jamie Ritchie (captain), Rory Darge; Jack Dempsey; Ben White, Finn Russell; Duhan van der Merwe, Sione Tuipulotu, Chris Harris, Kyle Steyn; Blair Kinghorn.

Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Huw Jones, Darcy Graham.

When is Scotland vs Tonga and how can I watch it?

14:29 , Luke Baker

When is Scotland vs Tonga?

Scotland vs Tonga is due to kick off at 4:45pm BST on Sunday 24 September at the Stade de Nice.

How can I watch it?

Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the match live on ITV1, with coverage on the channel from 4pm BST. Registered users can also stream the action via ITVX.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch the event, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are and also with the terms of their service provider.

Is Scotland vs Tonga on TV? Channel, start time and how to watch Rugby World Cup fixture online

14:15 , Luke Baker

Scotland go in search of their first win of the Rugby World Cup as they face Tonga today.

Gregor Townsend’s side fell to an 18-3 defeat against the defending champions South Africa on the opening weekend but were afforded a bye week last week as they prepare for this weekend’s must-win clash. Scotland will be eyeing up a bonus-point victory and begin to claw back ground on the Springboks and Ireland who sit in the top two positions.

Tonga have also only played one match thus far in the tournament and got their campaign under way with a 59-16 defeat against Ireland. They will be eyeing up a shock victory on Sunday as they look to leapfrog Scotland into third spot in Pool B.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Is Scotland vs Tonga on TV? Channel, start time and how to watch online

Gregor Townsend makes four changes to his starting team

Friday 22 September 2023 16:33 , Jack Rathborn

Scotland changed two forwards and two backs to the side facing Tonga at the Rugby World Cup on Sunday. The Scots opened with an 18-3 defeat to defending champion South Africa two weeks ago.

On Friday, prop Rory Sutherland and lock Scott Cummings replaced Pierre Schoeman and Grant Gilchrist, while centre Chris Harris — who played in all of Scotland‘s pool games at the 2019 World Cup — and right wing Kyle Steyn pushed Huw Jones and Darcy Graham into the reserves.

“We know this is a really important game for us so we’ve put as strong a team as we can to win it,” coach Gregor Townsend said. “The last 20 minutes are going to be important, so to have players like Darcy Graham, Huw Jones and George Horne coming off the bench will give us something different.”

Tonga will have bad memories of Steyn, who scored four tries in a 60-14 win when the sides last met two years ago. The Scots scored 10 tries that day at Murrayfield. Gilchrist dropped out of the matchday 23 for the game in Nice.

Both teams are playing their second Pool B game, with Tonga dispatched 59-16 by Ireland in its first game.

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

Scotland vs Tonga

Friday 22 September 2023 15:15 , Imogen Ainsworth

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Pool B fixture between Scotland and Tonga.

Tonga will be looking to regroup after last weekend’s loss to Ireland and put in a physical performance this weekend. Opponents Scotland had a weekend off last weekend and go in search of their first win of this year’s competition after their loss to South Africa in the first round.

Follow all of the action here.