Match Centre: Rugby World Cup Pool B: Scotland 45-17 Tonga

Chris Harris of Scotland is tackled by Tanginoa Halaifonua of Tonga
Chris Harris of Scotland is tackled by Tanginoa Halaifonua of Tonga
©Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Scotland 45-17 Tonga, Pool B, Stade de Nice

Scotland have kept hopes of quarter-final alive as they secured a 45-17 bonus point victory over Tonga in their Pool B clash of the Rugby World Cup at Stade de Nice on Sunday.

They now are at the third place in Pool B with bonus point and will have games against Romania and Ireland left.

Tonga went into the side unchanged from their defeat against Ireland but Adam Coleman, who has played 38 Tests for Australia made his Tonga debut when he came off the bench while Scotland made four changes with Scott Cummings, Kyle Steyn, Chris Harris and Rory Sutherland coming in.

Scotland made an attacking start to the game as Blair Kinghorn collected his own kick as he looked to go over but the Edinburgh full back knocked on inches before the try line. Nevertheless, they got their opening try in the fifth minute as George Turner touched down after a perfectly set maul and Finn Russell landed the conversion to make it 7-0.

A scrum penalty allowed Tonga to get off the mark and William Havili kicked to perfection to reduce the arrears to four points before they got into the lead as Salesi Piutau offloaded to Solomone Kata for their opening try and Havili landed the conversion to make it 7-10.

The lead from Tonga was shortlived though as Russell sent a wide pass for Duhan van der Merwe to touchdown in the corner and around the half-hour mark the Scotland fly-half set up Kyle Steyn over the line. Despite his brilliance in setting the tries, Russell missed both the conversions as Gregor Townsend men's remained at 17-10.

The 34th minute saw Tonga reduced to 14 players temporarily with Afusipa Taumaepeau sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Jamie Ritchie, who had to leave the field for a Head Injury Assessment. With the numerical advantage on their side, Scotland extended their lead before the break as Rory Darge found the gap and crossed under the posts. This time Russell got the conversion right as Scotland completed the opening half with a 24-10 lead.

Taumoepeau was allowed to return back three minutes in the second half as captain Ben Tameifuna powered his way over for Tonga for their second try and Havili's extras made it 24-17 but Scotland stepped up the ante with Van der Merwe set up George Horne over for their fifth try.

Russell was once again instrumental as he set up their sixth try that came through Kinghorn in the 68th minute before Darcy Graham exhibited great speed to cross the whitewash in the closing stage after Tonga's Vaea Fifita was sin-binned by referee Karl Dickson for making direct contact with the head of Russell.

Russell kicked both the conversions to ensure Scotland completed a 28-point victory to keep their hope alive in the competition.

Points Table: Pool B

Position Team Played Won Lost Points
1 Ireland 3 3 0 14
2 South Africa 3 2 1 10
3 Scotland 2 1 1 5
4 Tonga 2 0 2 0
5 Romania 2 0 2 0

What's Next:

Scotland's next fixture will be against Romania on Saturday at Stade Pierre-Mauroy while Tonga will be facing South Africa next in Marseille on 1st October.

Team line up:

Scotland: Kinghorn; Steyn, Harris, Tuipulotu, van der Merwe; Russell, White; Dempsey, Darge, Ritchie (c), Cummings, Gray, Z. Fagerson, Turner, Sutherland.

Reserves: Ashman, Schoeman, Nel, Skinner, M. Fagerson, Horne, Jones, Graham.

Tonga: Piutau; Kata, Fekitoa, Ahki, Taumoepeau; Havili, Pulu; V. Fifita, Talitui, Halaifonua, Lousi, H.Fifita, Tameifuna (captain), Ngauamo, Fisi’ihoi.

Reserves: Moli, Koloamatangi, Apikotoa, Coleman, Paea, Vailanu, Takulua, Pellegrini.