South Africa vs Tonga LIVE! Rugby World Cup 2023 result, match stream and latest updates today

South Africa vs Tonga LIVE! Rugby World Cup 2023 result, match stream and latest updates today

South Africa vs Tonga LIVE!

The penultimate matchweek of the 2023 Rugby World Cup pool stage wrapped up with a meeting between the Springboks and the Sea Eagles in Marseille. South Africa have effectively booked their place in the quarter-finals by notching a bonus-point win, which also eliminated Tonga.

Defeat to Ireland last week means defending champions South Africa are, realistically, fighting for second place in Pool B unless results go their way by Scotland causing an upset next weekend. The Boks have the final round of matches off, making this their last chance to generate some momentum ahead of the knockouts.

Tonga were comfortably beaten on the scoreboard but played rather well for their third defeat in a group of death that at least ends in a week’s time with a clash against minnows Romania.

South Africa vs Tonga highlights

  • TRY! Boks respond to conceding early penalty

  • TRY! Tameifuna gets Tonga on the board

  • TRY! Kriel bags a bonus point

  • TRY! Smith makes it 49-18 at the death

Thanks for joining us!

21:56 , Marc Mayo

We’ll be back next week with all the best action from the final round of Rugby World Cup pool matches.

Tonight, South Africa overcame a decent performance from Tonga to win 49-18 and all-but secure a spot in the quarter-finals.

Recap the action with our match report!

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Highlights: Tonga go down fighting after strong showing

21:53 , Marc Mayo

Conversion! South Africa 49-18 Tonga | Full time

21:48 , Marc Mayo

A simple kick under the posts and that’s that! South Africa are virtually secured of a spot in the quarter-finals ahead of their week off as the pool stage wraps up.

TRY! South Africa 47-18 Tonga | 80 mins

21:47 , Marc Mayo

South Africa are in possession as we cross the 80-minute mark. Esterhuizen gets the ball to within a few feet of the line before they get it over via Smith!

South Africa 42-18 Tonga | 77 mins

21:43 , Marc Mayo

It’s been basically all Tonga since that score, can they grab a fourth try for a bonus point?

A penalty goes against them and the fans let out the biggest boo of the night!

TRY! South Africa 42-18 Tonga | Pellegrini, 73'

21:39 , Marc Mayo

Tonga’s Pellegrini, of Coventry RFC, follows through on a long kick and takes the bounce of the ball to touch down!

Formerly of fifth-tier Sevenoaks, he skews the kick wide. Maybe the don’t teach them everything in the lower leagues...

South Africa 42-13 Tonga | 69 mins

21:34 , Marc Mayo

Inisi has been a superb outlet for Tonga on their right flank but their attack crumbles with a penalty for not releasing the ball.

Likewise, the Boks are held back by a forward pass after another successful line-out.

Full time not far off in Marseille, with South Africa still eyeing a couple of tries to bulk out their points difference.

TRY! South Africa 42-13 Tonga | Van Staden, 63’

21:30 , Marc Mayo

What a move! The Springboks rush 40 yards in 15 seconds as Smith and Kriel carve a fresh opening before Moodie comes close on the flank. The ball pops up to Van Staden, who runs it in!

Another kick for Libbok, which he delivers.

Highlights: Tonga (briefly) cut the deficit

21:24 , Marc Mayo

Conversion! South Africa 35-13 Tonga | 59 mins

21:24 , Marc Mayo

Libbok needs to show his kicking is up to the task off the bench, and it’s a tough one out wide to start. He belts it home, right down the middle.

TRY! South Africa 33-13 Tonga | Le Roux, 57'

21:23 , Marc Mayo

Tonga drop the ball inside their own half and South Africa pounce with immense ruthlessness, spinning the ball wide left to Le Roux - he darts past two challenges and reaches the line!

South Africa 28-13 Tonga | 55 mins

21:19 , Marc Mayo

Another missed kick keeps the deficit at 15 before Tameifuna departs for Tonga to a standing ovation, he’s been excellent.

TRY! South Africa 28-13 Tonga | Inisi, 54’

21:17 , Marc Mayo

Another sweep down the inside of the line-out sends Tonga towards the try line and it leads to Fekitoa being denied mere feet from the line!

They come back the other way and work it wide to Inisi unmarked to go over in style!

South Africa 28-8 Tonga | 52 mins

21:15 , Marc Mayo

A TMO check for Etzebeth, potentially landing a dangerous charge on Piutau. Penalty only given after the referee is persuaded against a booking, with it clumsy rather than malicious.

Conversion! South Africa 28-8 Tonga | 51 mins

21:12 , Marc Mayo

Two of Pollard’s conversions have already come from this right flank and he threads his latest kick dead centre to make it 28-8.

That’s his latest input on today’s game as a handful of further changes are made by the Boks.

TRY! South Africa 26-8 Tonga | Kriel, 49’

21:11 , Marc Mayo

That’s the bonus point! Kriel off the bench and over the line.

South Africa 21-8 Tonga | 46 mins

21:06 , Marc Mayo

Kitshoff and Nyakane enter the Springboks pack off the bench as Nche goes for a head check.

South Africa’s latest move is repelled once again with a fifth handling error of the game.

South Africa 21-8 Tonga | 45 mins

21:04 , Marc Mayo

Tight start to the half in the midfield and Etzebeth boldly hops a tackle to nearly win possession, which is deemed fair by the referee.

South Africa get the ball back and are eventually bundled into touch.

South Africa 21-8 Tonga | Kick off!

21:00 , Marc Mayo

We’re back underway in this Pool B clash at the Rugby World Cup.


Watch back Tonga’s breathtaking Sipi Tau

20:59 , Marc Mayo

Time for South Africa to assert their authority

20:55 , Marc Mayo

That bonus point is a must for the Boks and they need to build up a hefty points difference too, even if victory will virtually do the job of putting them in the quarter-finals.

Highlights: Tameifuna keeps the contest alive

20:51 , Marc Mayo

South Africa 21-8 Tonga | Half time!

20:45 , Marc Mayo

The Boks are back on the front foot and want that crucial bonus point in the bank before the break.

A mega tackle from Ahki helps keep them at bay and Piutau grabs a pass to end the threat.

The ball is soon kicked to touch and that’s the whistle!

South Africa 21-8 Tonga | 39 mins

20:42 , Marc Mayo

The neutrals, locals and Tongans in the crowd certainly enjoyed that. Tonga have certainly been worth a try, with half time beckoning.

Havili skews the kick wide, however.

TRY! South Africa 21-8 Tonga | Tameifuna , 38'

20:41 , Marc Mayo

A superb kick puts Tonga back inside the Springboks’ 22 and they go long at the line-out...

They’ve threatened so much tonight but have next to nothing to show for it.

Until now! Tameifuna hops over the line to touch down!

Conversion! South Africa 21-3 Tonga | 33 mins

20:36 , Marc Mayo

Pollard is three from three for conversions. Lad’s quite good at this...

TRY! South Africa 19-3 Tonga | Fourie, 32’

20:35 , Marc Mayo

Tonga punished again for going in at the side, one more and they’ll find a man in the sin bin.

South Africa, once more, try to run it quickly but are brought back to allow the referee to divvy out his instructions.

Kicked for the corner, they muscle the maul over the line to extend their lead!

South Africa 14-3 Tonga | 29 mins

20:32 , Marc Mayo

A TMO check interrupts South Africa’s next bid to run a penalty quickly in Tonga’s 22.

Pulu clashes heads with Mapimpi yet the referee points out he’s falling to his knees, so he opts against a yellow card. Penalty given though, perfectly reasonable officiating to be fair.

Mapimpi off for a head check, he seems fine though.

South Africa 14-3 Tonga | 27 mins

20:28 , Marc Mayo

A Mexican wave pours around the Stade Velodrome as South Africa begin to edge up the pitch, in a bid to finally score a ‘normal’ try.

The rolling maul drags them to within an inch of the line but Tonga hold out and win the penalty!

South Africa 14-3 Tonga | 23 mins

20:24 , Marc Mayo

We resume with more Tonga possession but South Africa repel them strongly. We’ve had 80 per cent of this game played in the holders’ half, and they’ve bagged two tries to zero!

Conversion! South Africa 14-3 Tonga | 21 mins

20:22 , Marc Mayo

It’s a quick and legal check as a potential South Africa knock-on came off the top of a Boks shoulder, as the ball pinged up and allowed Moodie to dart in.

Fortunate for South Africa, who have barely had the ball. Pollard converts from close range.

TRY! South Africa 12-3 Tonga | Moodie, 20'

20:21 , Marc Mayo

Moodie grabs a loose ball and rushes for the line unchallenged!

TMO will check it.

South Africa 7-3 Tonga | 19 mins

20:20 , Marc Mayo

The tackle count is split at 49 from South Africa to just nine from Tonga at this stage.

Havili spins a delicate pass over several heads to find Inisi out wide and he grabs plenty of yards before going down.

Shortly afterwards, the referee calls for a Boks penalty and explains he’s been giving earlier warnings about Tonga trying to buy penalties on the cheap.

South Africa 7-3 Tonga | 15 mins

20:16 , Marc Mayo

Tonga opt for the line-out and drop a lovely ball down the inside for Tameifuna to dart at the line! South Africa spot it and pile him into touch.

Highlights: Smart work earns South Africa the lead

20:14 , Marc Mayo

South Africa 7-3 Tonga | 14 mins

20:14 , Marc Mayo

Another strong challenge from Etzebeth pushes Tonga back after they run it right off the scrum.

Ahki is next to be held up yards off the line before an offside advantage frees them up to kick for the far flank...

It’s fumbled by Le Roux and just evades a Tonga runner before dribbling into touch! That could have been a hugely costly error.

South Africa 7-3 Tonga | 12 mins

20:11 , Marc Mayo

Tonga go for it off the scrum and only a superb tackle from Williams keeps Tuitavuki’s rush down the left in check, before Tonga claim a fresh penalty with a quick play the ball.

No kick for three this time, they go for touch and want to take the lead... and get the scrum after being denied a push on the try line.

Conversion! South Africa 7-3 Tonga | 6 mins

20:06 , Marc Mayo

Pollard steps up for his first involvement in the match and he squeezes a tough conversion out wide through the near post.

TRY! South Africa 5-3 Tonga | Reibach, 5'

20:05 , Marc Mayo

South Africa’s first chance to get on the scoreboard themselves with a penalty punted into touch to enter Tonga’s 22.

Advantage is played and used after a poor pass bobbles on the floor - and a quick tap-and-run from Reinach sees him dart over!

Penalty! South Africa 0-3 Tonga | 2 mins

20:02 , Marc Mayo

The Springboks are sloppy at the kick-off and then give away an offside for the first penalty of the game with 59 seconds on the clock!

Tonga will kick it with Havili under the posts. It’s good - the Sea Eagles lead...

South Africa vs Tonga | Kick-off!

20:00 , Marc Mayo

Away we go in Marseille!

South Africa’s final pool game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and Tonga’s final chance to avoid elimination.


Time for the Sipi Tau

19:58 , Marc Mayo

The stadium hushes as Tonga perform their ‘Sipi Tau’ war dance, the perfect way to build this game’s atmosphere... and kick-off is next!

Time for the national anthems

19:56 , Marc Mayo

South Africa’s national anthem up first and belted out by their thousands of fans in Marseille. Then it’s the turn of the Tongan anthem, ‘Ko e fasi Ê»o e tuÊ»i Ê»o e Ê»Otu Tonga’.

Here come the players!

19:53 , Marc Mayo

The Springboks in the tunnel bright and early for a ‘gwijo’ call and response song under Siya Kolisi, as is tradition before their games.

Tonga also shared a prayer in their dressing room before heading out to join South Africa.

And the teams are now out on the pitch at the Stade Velodrome!

How South Africa and Tonga can reach the knockouts

19:51 , Marc Mayo

The permutations for both teams are fairly simple.

If Tonga get a bonus-point win tonight, they're still in the competition. If South Africa get a bonus-point win, they're in the quarter-finals.

A better head-to-head record against Scotland means they're in the driving seat in that battle but a three-way tie on 15 points each is possible and complicated.

Points difference would then come into play where the Springboks hold a fairly chunky advantage over Scotland, who would have to pile on points and thus knock Ireland down to leapfrog them.

A reminder of the teams ahead of kick-off!

19:49 , Marc Mayo

Jacques Nienaber sets Handre Pollard expectations

19:45 , Marc Mayo

South Africa boss Jacques Nienaber has moved to calm expectation of Handre Pollard before his much-anticipated return to the team tonight.

“He hasn’t played for the Boks in 13 months,” remarked Nienaber in the week. “He hasn’t played international rugby for more than a year.

“He also hasn’t played top-level rugby since the first week in May, which is 19 weeks ago. In saying that, he’s a quality player and we all know that.

“He’s won a World Cup before, he’s won a British & Irish Lions series before, so he understands what international rugby and top international rugby is about.

“However, I think we must stay real in that and give him time to settle in and get used to the pace of it."

Tonga, best of luck dealing with the Boks pack...

19:41 , Marc Mayo

South Africa vs Tonga: Countdown to kick-off

19:34 , Marc Mayo

The warm-ups are underway and we have under 30 minutes to kick-off for this Pool B clash!

Handre Pollard out to enjoy himself

19:30 , Marc Mayo

Not since May has Handre Pollard started a game of rugby and the Springboks fly-half is not expecting an easy return from injury tonight.

Originally left out the South Africa’s squad, he is billed as a much-needed boost to their kicking roster for this tournament.

“My expectations for myself are just going to be to express myself and enjoy it,” Pollard said.

“It was a calf injury that should have only been about four weeks [on the sidelines], but ended up being almost three months.

“It was a very frustrating time but that’s the body, that’s how it works. We tried our best to be fit as soon as possible but it didn’t work out.”

Tonga not yet living up to expectations

19:24 , Marc Mayo

Ranked 15th in the world, few expected Tonga to progress from the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup and so it may prove.

Coach Toutai Kefu spoke highly of his players before the tournament, describing them as “probably the best ever” Tonga squad.

Yet, despite putting points on the board in both games, they’ve lost to Scotland and Ireland quite convincingly so far.

South Africa want the job done tonight

19:17 , Marc Mayo

A nervy final weekend on the sofa is not South Africa's idea of a good time.

Assistant coach Mzwandile Stick spoke in the week of the Boks' determination to win with a bonus point today and make a knockout berth their own without any favours.

“We can’t talk about the playoffs, because if we don’t win, there are no play-offs,” Stick said. “And we don’t want to rely on other teams’ results.”

The atmosphere is building nicely

19:10 , Marc Mayo

Hopefully as many of the 67,000 seats are filled as possible at the Stade Velodrome with the locals and neutrals perhaps favouring Tonga for an upset.

Men in the middle

19:04 , Marc Mayo

Luke Pearce will referee this match along with fellow English officials Matthew Carley and Christophe Ridley. Australia’s Brett Cronan is on TMO duty.

South Africa vs Tonga: Countdown to kick-off

18:59 , Marc Mayo

With the Aussies doing what they had to do, full focus is now on Marseille where South Africa and Tonga kick off in just an hour’s time!

Full time in the other Rugby World Cup match

18:51 , Marc Mayo

It’s a fairly nervy 34-14 win for Australia over Portugal in Saint-Etienne. The Wallabies still stare elimination in the face, which will come if Fiji win next weekend.

A special day for Siya Kolisi

18:43 , Marc Mayo

Head-to-head record

18:38 , Marc Mayo

The two teams have only met twice, in 1997 and 2007, with the Boks victorious on both occasions.

South Africa wins: 2

Tonga wins: 0

Draws: 0

Elsewhere at the Rugby World Cup

18:33 , Marc Mayo

Australia are currently in the closing stages of sealing a win over Portugal in Pool C, although they’ve made hard work of it...

Today’s venue: The Stade Velodrome

18:28 , Marc Mayo

South Africa vs Tonga latest odds

18:24 , Marc Mayo

South Africa to win: 1/200

Tonga to win: 50/1

Draw: 50/1

Odds via Befair (subject to change).

The Boks fans are out in force in Marseille!

18:17 , Marc Mayo

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Evening Standard score prediction

18:09 , Marc Mayo

The Springboks need a solid performance to round off their pool stage to assure their place in the quarter-finals.

South Africa to win, with a bonus point.


18:03 , Marc Mayo

Tonga XV: Piutau; Inisi, Fekitoa, Ahki, Tuitavuki; Havili, Pulu; Fisi’ihoi, Ngauamo, Tameifuna (c); L Fifita, Lousi; Halaifonua, Talitui, Paea

Replacements: Moli, Koloamatangi, Apikotoa, Coleman, Vailanu, Takulua, Pellegrini, Taumoepeau

Tonga team news

17:56 , Marc Mayo

Tonga are without suspended No8 Vaea Fifita, the former All Black who was handed a four-game ban following his sending off against Scotland.

He’s replaced by Semisi Paea, while Anzelo Tuitavuki and Fine Inisi also come onto the wings.

17:49 , Marc Mayo

South Africa XV: Le Roux; Williams, Moodie, Esterhuizen, Mapimpi; Pollard, Reinach; Nche, Fourie, Koch; Etzebeth, Orie; Kolisi (c), Vermeulen, Wiese

Replacements: Van Staden, Kitshoff, Nyakane, Mostert, Smith, Hendrikse, Kriel, Libbok

South Africa team news

17:44 , Marc Mayo

South Africa show 12 changes from the side that were bested by Ireland in a hugely physical encounter in Paris, with only captain Siya Kolisi, lock Eben Etzebeth and No8 Jasper Wiese retaining their starting berths.

Handre Pollard is parachuted in to bolster the Boks’ dreadful goal-kicking, at No10 in place of Libbok having only been called up to the squad last week as a replacement for injured hooker Malcolm Marx.

Pollard had missed out on selection for Jacques Nienaber’s original World Cup squad after being sidelined with a calf injury.

Where to watch South Africa vs Tonga

17:35 , Marc Mayo

TV channel: In the UK, South Africa vs Tonga will be shown live on free-to-air channel ITV1, with coverage starting at 7:15pm.

Live stream: The game is also available to watch for free online via the ITV website and ITVX app.

South Africa vs Tonga LIVE!

17:27 , Marc Mayo

Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s coverage of South Africa vs Tonga at the 2023 Rugby World Cup!

The penultimate weekend of the pool stage has been a fairly quiet one given the absence of many big names, with the Springboks the top team in action today as they face Tonga in Marseille.

Stade Velodrome hosts this one with kick-off at 8pm BST.

You can follow all the action LIVE, right here on the blog where we will bring you all the build-up, match action and reaction.