Match Centre: Rugby World Cup Pool B: Ireland 59-16 Tonga

Tadhg Beirne of Ireland scores his team's first try during the Rugby World Cup game against Tonga
Tadhg Beirne of Ireland scores his team's first try during the Rugby World Cup game against Tonga
©Photo by David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Ireland 59-16 Tonga, Pool B, Stade de la Beaujoire

Ireland made a statement of intent as they thrashed Tonga 59-16 to maintain their winning streak in the Pool B clash of the Rugby World Cup at Stade de la Beaujoire on Saturday.

The game also saw Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton become the country's record points scorer as he went past Ronan O'Gara's tally of 1083 points.

Ireland got their opening points in the 6th minute as Augustine Pulu was penalised for going off his feet and Sexton kicked the three-pointer to provide them an early lead in the game but it was shortlived as William Havili kicked a penalty goal from a 50m distance to level the scores by the 15th minute.

Ireland had a try disallowed just inside the first quarter as Mack Hansen offloaded for Andrew Porter to go over but the former had a knock on in the process. However, Tonga's resistance came to an end with Tadhg Beirne scoring his third try of the tournament after collecting a pass from Caelan Doris. Sexton kicked the conversion to make it 10-3.

Tonga narrowed down the gap to four points with another successful kick from Havili but it was a matter of time before Andy Farrell's men took control as Doris completed their second try in the 25th minute at the back of a powerful driving maul and shortly Hansen exhibited a superb solo display to touchdown. Sexton kicked both the conversions equally O’Gara’s previous record and taking the scoreline to 24-6.

The Ireland skipper inked his name in the record book when Conor Murray and Garry Ringrose combined to send him over the line in the 38th minute to stretch their lead to 31-6 and shortly Peter O’Mahony sin-binned for his hands on the ruck.

Tonga made use of the numerical advantage with Vaea Fifita picking the ball from the base of the ruck to go past couple of Irish defenders to score making it 31-13 before the break.

Havili helped Tonga get off the block early in the second with his third penalty kick and by the 51st minute Ireland had another try disallowed after a TMO consultation as Dave Kilcoyne had knees on the floor before looking to go over. As the third quarter was about to end, Ireland extended their lead further with a late pass from Craig Casey allowing James Lowe to dot down before Bundee Aki powered his way over making it 45-16.

The 50-point mark was breached by the 68th minute when Aki completed his second collecting a wide pass from Aki and Ross Byrne improved it to make it 52-16 before Rob Herring scored their eighth and final try in the 80th minute driving Ireland to their 15th consecutive win.

Points Table: Pool B

Position Team Played Won Lost Points
1 Ireland 2 2 0 10
2 South Africa 1 1 1 4
3 Scotland 1 0 1 0
4 Tonga 1 0 1 0
5 Romania 1 0 1 0

What's Next:

Ireland will be locking horns with defending champions South Africa in their next game on Saturday with Tonga lining up against Scotland in Nice on Sunday.


Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu admitted that Ireland outplayed them.

"Honestly [Ireland were] too good for us. Hopefully we'll be able to throw more punches next week."

Record breaking Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton wants his side to maintain the momentum.

"It’s not about personal achievements for us, it’s about winning the next game and ... it’s a massive game for us against the reigning world champions," Sexton said.

"It’s all geared towards that now.

"The breakdown was a bit of a mess. Once we got to grips with that part of the game, we scored some good tries. When it's humid like this tonight the ball can be very greasy. It’s good to get the five points and move on."

Team line up:

Ireland XV: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Murray; Porter, Kelleher, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Reserves: Herring, Kilcoyne, Bealham, Henderson, Baird, Casey, Byrne, Henshaw.

Tonga XV: Piutau; Taumoepeau, Fekitoa, Ahki, Kata; Havili, Pulu; Fisi’ihoi, Ngauamo, Tameifuna (capt); Lousi, Fifita; Halaifonua, Talitui, Fifita

Reserves: Moli, Koloamatangi, Apikotoa, Paea, Funaki, Vailanu, Takulula, Inisi.