PREVIEW: Scotland v Tonga

St Helens ace Luke Douglas will start at prop for Scotland

Tonga are dark horses in the World Cup but Scotland are currently ranked fourth in the world.

PREVIOUS WORLD CUPS

Scotland recorded their first ever win in the 2008 tournament but failed to progress through the groups due to their points difference but they surprised many in 2013 when the Bravehearts reached the quarter-finals but lost to New Zealand.

The Tongans probably feel like they have never really give a good account of themselves in World Cups. In 1995, 2000 and 2008, they failed to make it out of the group stages and in 2013, they failed to get out of their group again following defeat to Scotland.

WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE

Scotland have a lot of players who have past experience in the World Cup with the likes of Danny Addy, David Scott, Danny Brough, Matty Russell, Luke Douglas, Callum Phillips, Dale Ferguson, Ben Kavanagh and Ben Hellewell having previously represented the Bravehearts while brothers Andrew and Kane Bentley played for France at the last World Cup.

But Kristian Woolf’s Tonga have 14 players in their squad who have also played in World Cups prior to this one. Mahe Fonua, Daniel Tupou, Siliva Havili, Peni Terepo, Konrad Hurrell, Jason Taumalolo, Samisoni Langi, Ukuma Ta’ai, Sika Manu and Ben Murdoch-Masila have previously played for Tonga while Andrew Fifita and Michael Jennings have played for Australia. Manu Vatuvei and Sam Moa have played for New Zealand.

ONES TO WATCH

Steve McCormack’s Scotland play very much as a team rather than individuals but captain Danny Brough will be an important player for them because he has got a brilliant kicking game. New Catalans Dragons signing Lewis Tierney has lethal pace while Will Oakes is a great young winger.

They have been the talk of the tournament so far and Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita will certainly be the ones to watch for Tonga. The pair switched allegiance from New Zealand and Australia respectively to represent their heritage and they are class acts.

THE TEAMS 

Warrington Wolves star Matty Russell has been handed the No. 2 shirt for Scotland while Danny Addy will play at scrum-half. Penrith Panthers’ Lachlan Stein will start at centre while New Zealand Warriors starlet James Bell will feature at loose forward.

SCOTLAND: 1. Lewis Tierney, 2. Matty Russell, 3. Ben Hellewell, 4. Lachlan Stein, 5. Will Oakes, 6. Danny Brough, 7. Danny Addy, 8. Luke Douglas, 9. Kane Bentley, 10. Ben Kavanagh, 11. Frankie Mariano, 12. Dale Ferguson, 13. James Bell. Subs: 14. Callum Phillips, 15. Andrew Bentley, 16. Sam Brooks, 17. Johnny Walker. Reserves: 18. Alex Walker, 19. Jarred Anderson, 20. Kieran Moran, 21. Brandan Wilkinson.

Parramatta Eels ace Michael Jennings will play at centre for Tonga, with Salford Red Devils winger Manu Vatuvei also starting. Hull FC’s Sika Manu will captain the side from the back-row while new Warrington signing Ben Murdoch-Masila will be on the bench.

TONGA: 1. William Hopoate, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Konrad Hurrell, 5. Manu Vatuvei, 6. Tuimoala Lolohea, 7. Mafoa’aeata Hingano, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Siliva Havili, 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 11. Manu Ma’u, 12. Sika Manu, 13. Jason Taumalolo. Subs: 14. Sione Katoa, 15. Sam Moa, 16. Peni Terepo, 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila. Reserves: 18. Joe Ofahengaue, 19. Solomone Kata, 20. David Fusitua, 21. Samisoni Langi.

THE FAVOURITE

Due to Tonga having such a strong squad this year, they are the favourites for this game against a Scotland side that have been unlucky with injuries this year. Tonga are expected to push for the top spot in Group B alongside New Zealand.

You can watch the game LIVE on Premier Sports at 06:15am on Sunday 29 October.

Who do you think will win? Let us know in the comments below.

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