World Cup Preview: Tonga v Scotland

James Gordon

Scotland‘s first World Cup opponent is the same as their last, as they take on Tonga at Workington’s Derwent Park.

Tonga thrashed Steve McCormack’s men 48-0 in the play-off stage at the 2008 World Cup, but Scotland will be hoping it’ll be much closer in their adopted Cumbria on Tuesday night.

The line-ups are much changed since that game five years ago, and Scotland will be led around the park by current Super League Man of Steel Danny Brough, who will surely be subject of much attention throughout the tournament.

He is partnered in the halves by Brisbane’s Penrith-bound Peter Wallace, while North Queensland’s Kane Linnett and Gold Coast’s Luke Douglas add further NRL experience.

Warrington fans will be looking forward to seeing their new signing Matthew Russell, while the home fans at Workington have a couple of their own to cheer on, in the shape of brothers Callum and Brett Phillips. Widnes’ prop Ben Kavanagh also played for Town this season on dual-registration.

Tonga are led by Manly veteran Brent Kite, and he heads a fierce looking pack that also includes Fuifui Moimoi and St Helens back-rower Willie Manu.

Unlike Scotland, who lost to Papua New Guinea last Saturday, Tonga didn’t play a warm-up game prior to the World Cup, their last game coming back in April, then they beat Samoa 36-4.

Sydney Roosters stand-off Samisoni Langi featured prominently in that game, and a lot is expected of the 20-year-old at the World Cup.

He said: “Our targets are to win the pool and advance to the quarter finals first but we are just taking each game one at a time.

“We are not really doing homework on Scotland, we are just training and concentrating on our own things for the game.

“I was really happy to be called up for Tonga, this is my first time in England and my first World Cup.”

These two sides are in Group C, alongside Italy, with the winner of the group progressing to the quarter-finals and a likely meeting against New Zealand.

Verdict: Tonga to prove too strong for ScotlandTonga win.

Tonga: Glen Fisi’iahi (NZ Warriors), Daniel Tupou (Sydney), Jorge Taufua (Manly), Konrad Hurrell (NZ Warriors), Sosaia Feki (Cronulla), Samisoni Langi (Sydney), Daniel Foster (Penrith), Brent Kite (Manly), Siliva Havili (NZ Warriors), Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta), Sika Manu (Penrith), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland), Willie Manu (St Helens), Nafe Seluini (Sydney), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Wests), Ukuma Ta’ai (Huddersfield), Mickey Paea (Hull KR), Siosaia Vave (Melbourne), Siuatonga Likiliki (Newcastle).

Scotland: Danny Addy (Bradford), Danny Brough (Huddersfield), Brett Carter (Workington), Luke Douglas (Gold Coast), Dale Ferguson (Huddersfield), Ben Fisher (London), Ben Hellwell (Featherstone), Ian Henderson (Catalan), Alex Hurst (London), Ben Kavanagh (Widnes), Kane Linnett (North Queensland), Brett Phillips (Workington), Matthew Russell (Gold Coast), David Scott (Featherstone), Mitchell Stringer (Sheffield), Alex Szostak (Sheffield), Adam Walker (Hull KR), Peter Wallace (Brisbane), Oliver Wilkes (Wakefield).