Ireland v Tonga live: Score and updates from the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)
Spread the love
Ireland v Tonga live: Score and updates from the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Johnny Sexton scores a try and becomes Ireland’s all-time record points scorer – Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Table of Contents

09:02 PM BST

TRY TONGA! 40 min IRE 31 TON 13

Vaea Fifita scores!

The big No 8 picks from the base of the scrum and goes over two Irish defenders to score.

Havili slots the extras, and Tonga aren’t done yet! It’s the perfect end to the first half for Toutai Kefu’s side.

08:59 PM BST

40 min IRE 31 TON 6

Ireland are at risk of giving away another yellow card for repeat infringements should they commit another offence here.

But first, Tonga must win their scrum

08:58 PM BST

40 min IRE 31 TON 6

Barnes calls it back for the Tonga penalty under the sticks.

They opt for another scrum, with the clock now at 46 minutes.

08:57 PM BST

40 min IRE 31 TON 6

They are testing the Irish defence on the five-metre line. The continue to keep it narrow, and Fekitoa gets close.

08:57 PM BST

40 min IRE 31 TON 6

The scrum is a mess with Andrew Porter holding scrum for Ireland.

As we reach the 44th minute, Tonga are playing under another advantage.

08:56 PM BST


Another penalty for Tonga, and Peter O’Mahony goes to the sin bin for hands in the ruck.

Unbelievably, it has been 14 months since Ireland received their last card. England could learn a thing or two…Tonga go for the scrum again.

08:54 PM BST

40 min IRE 31 TON 6

With the clock in the red, there will be one last opportunity for Tonga to get something back inside the first half.

They have penalty five metres out, but rather than going for the posts, they opt for the scrum.

Ireland have streaked away in the last 15 minutes, so this is their gamble to get back in the game. They need to make it count.

08:53 PM BST

TRY IRELAND! 38 min IRE 31 TON 6

Sexton scores!

Brilliant rugby by Ireland who are putting on a show here. Connor Murray snipes from the base and pops a Gregan ball back inside to Gary Ringrose.

Ringrose then sets up a two-on-one with the full-back to feed Sexton.

The veteran fly-half weaves back inside and goes in under the sticks. With that, he becomes Ireland’s record points scorer, and Ireland have a bonus point inside half-time.

08:49 PM BST

36 min IRE 24 TON 6

Scotland have the bit between their teeth here and kick another penalty to the corner as they hunt down a bonus point before half time.

Hooker Ronan Kelleher breaks free from the maul and looks like he’s going to get over, but Tonga show great resilience to get under the ball and hold it up.

08:45 PM BST

TRY IRELAND! 32 min IRE 24 TON 6

A brilliant solo effort by Hansen!

Ireland push the ball out the back with some slick handling right on the gain line – Hugo Keenan gets marmalalised by Fekitoa for his efforts – and bounce pass it out to Hansen.

The winger still has so much to do, but he cuts back inside and weaves through the tackles before diving for the line.

Sexton knocks over the conversion. Ireland are looking dominant here.

08:42 PM BST

29 min IRE 17 TON 6

Tonga are peanlised at the breakdown again. Clearly they have a game plan to slow down Ireland’s ball.

They then steal the ball back at an upcoming breakdown, but Kata kicks straight out.

It’s not been the winger’s finest five minutes. Tongan fans will hope he can bounce back from these small errors.

08:39 PM BST

IRELAND TRY! 25 min IRE 17 TON 6

Tough penalty against Solomone Kata. The winger follows through on his charge down to take out James Lowe. Ireland kick to touch.

Kata apologises profusely to his teammates as he comes back for the Ireland lineout, but his mistake proves costly.

Ireland set a good driving maul and go over through Doris.

Johnny Sexton bisects the uprights from out left.

Tonga will have to sure up their discipline if they are to stand a chance in this game.

08:35 PM BST

24 min IRE 10 TON 6

Great footwork from Piutau! The big Tongan fullback throws in a step and leaves Hugo Keenan grasping at thin air.

Tonga then win a penalty which Havili knocks over – again from distance.

Tonga narrow the gap.

08:32 PM BST

TRY IRELAND! 21 min IRE 10 TON 3

This time the try looks good for Tadhg Beirne.

Ireland break through the middle through a smart inside ball from Sexton to Caelan Doris. He emerges from the far side of the ruck to exploit the Tongan defence which hasn’t come up on the  inside of the ball carrier.

Doris pops inside to Beirne who rides the challenge before using his long levers to reach over the line at the base of the post.

It’s checked, but the TMO judges there to be no foul play.

Sexton slots the extras, and Ireland take back the lead.

08:28 PM BST

20 min IRE 3 TON 3

Off the scrum, Ireland tear through the Tongan centres.

They look to offload, but the ball bounces of an unwitting Connor Murray who only has eyes on clearing the breakdown.

The ball goes forward and Tonga have a scrum, which they win then clear right to the 22.

08:26 PM BST


Connor Murray hoists up a box kick which is knocked on clumsily by Tongan winger Taumoepeau.

Mack Hansen picks up and pops to Andrew Porter, giving the big prop a rare run-in.

But play is brought back for a Hansen knock on.

Bit of a let-off for Tonga.

08:23 PM BST

15 min IRE 3 TON 3

Tonga penalty. Ireland are penalised for taking out the Tongan kick-chaser.

This will be an early test for William Havili from around 50 metres out just inside the right 15-metre line.

And he nails it! Tonga draw level.

08:21 PM BST

15 min IRE 3 TON 0

After receiving treatment for a second time, Fifita gets back to his feet, intent on going again.

Tongan fans will hope he can shake off this knock.

08:19 PM BST

13 min IRE 3 TON 0

Ireland have had over 70 per cent of position in the opening encounters.

Each side is trading repeated peanlities at the breakdown.

After an Irish lineout on the left, Sexton goes blind to try to release Lowe. But the big winger gets completely isolated and gives away a penalty for holding on.

Tonga clear to halfway.

08:17 PM BST

11 min IRE 3 TON 0

Tonga lose their first throw at the lineout. That will be an early psychological win for Ireland.

Time is off though as Leva Fifita is down. The second row caught his leg in an akward position trying to tackle Johnny Sexton and looks in some pain.

He will battle on for the time being.

08:15 PM BST

10 min IRE 3 TON 0

Tonga put in a great touch finder after which Barnes clearly calls that the ball is still live.

Mack Hansen decides to go for a quick lineout before hoisting an industrial boot upfield and landing a perfect 50-22.

Tonga go from a great attacking position to defending their own 22. But they work hard at the breakdown to force a penalty.

The contact zone has been furiously contested in this game so far.

08:12 PM BST

8 min IRE 3 TON 0

Ireland clear to Charles Pietau, who gives fans a first demosntration of what he can do with his feet by rounding the first defender.

Fans of Premiership rugby will be all too aware of the sort of danger he poses.

Ireland win it back and then win another penalty at the breakdown. Tonga will have to tighten up in this area.

08:10 PM BST

6 min IRE 3 TON 0

Ireland this time move the ball, getting up beyond five phaases.

They are met with solid defence from Tonga, including one monster hit on Gary Ringrose, but scrum-half Augustine Pulu is penalised for going off his feet.

Ireland make sensible to go for the posts through Sexton. A clear signal they are treating tonight’s clash as a test match and not some sort of warm-up fixture for later games.

Sexton makes no mistake.

08:07 PM BST

4 min IRE 0 TON 0

Tonga hold their own in the scrum and move it slickly to the right.

Solid defence though by Ireland – no way through there.

Tonga come back left again but give away a penalty at the breakdown. Sharp work by Irealand.

Farrell’s side kick up to the Tonga 22 or a lineout.

08:06 PM BST

2 min IRE 0 TON 0

“Can we get some balls on please,” questions the referee. That will come in handy.

Said ball is retrieved, and we’re off again. Ireland give away a free kick for an early shove, but Tonga opt for another scrum.

08:05 PM BST

2 min IRE 0 TON 0

Tonga look like they’ve stolen the ball, but Barnes spots a knock-on.

It’s time for our first scrum of the game. Let’s see how Ireland deal with this 140kg Tonga front row…

08:04 PM BST

1 min IRE 0 TON 0

Wayne Barnes blows his whistle, and we’re off.

Tonga kick to the Irish 22. Farrell’s side then play a couple of phases before clearing through Lowe.

Tonga, perhaps over-enthusiastic, give away an early offside penalty. Ireland have a lineout on half-away.

08:02 PM BST

Kick off moments away

The anthems are done, the challenge has put forth by Tonga, and kick off is imminent.

08:00 PM BST

Rousing performance from the Irish

It may just be the telly, but it sounds like the near enough the whole stadium is belting out the Irish anthem!

Tonga now lay down the gauntlet with the Sipi Tau – it’s first performance of the tournament.

07:56 PM BST

Time for the anthems

The teams are jogging out onto the pitch – Ireland in white, Tonga in red.

Now, it’s time for the anthems! First up: Tonga.

07:52 PM BST

Ireland go full-strength

Ireland have notably taken a different approach to France and Wales by going full-strength. Uruguay and Portugal gave both of those sides plenty of problems and Tonga are potentially a step up from that for Andy Farrell’s side, even with Tonga’s poor record this year with wins over only Australia ‘A’ and Canada.

The battle in the centres between Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose against Pita Ahki and Malakai Fekitoa should be great fun.

07:49 PM BST

Andy Farrell tactics: ‘We need to move them around’

Hopefully we can put a bit of pace in to this game and play the way that we want to play.

They are a big side with a very good set piece a very good maul and they want to hit in defence as well. We need to move them around a bit.

07:47 PM BST

Andy Farrell: team selection shows’ respect’ for opposition

The game’s important to us. Points are on offer. Completely different type of game than last week.

We’re respecting ourselves first and foremost and certainly respecting the opposition because of the quality that’s in the side as a collective, as individuals and coaching staff.

07:42 PM BST

How Tonga became World Cup wild cards

When World Rugby changed its eligibility rules in late 2021, there was a surge of interest in which players would switch sides at Test level.

The birthright amendment allows players who have not represented one country in three years to play for another providing they meet the right ancestry eligibility requirements, which opened the door for those with Pacific Island heritage who were no longer playing for New Zealand or Australia.

The clear winners, absolutely, are Tonga, who have five former All Blacks in their starting XV including 2015 World Cup winner Malakai Fekitoa and Bristol Bears’ Charles (Salesi) Piutau.

For more on how they capitalised on the new rules, check out Ben Coles’s full story here.

07:35 PM BST

Have your say

07:34 PM BST

A gorgeous night to watch rugby in Nantes

07:33 PM BST

Our experts’ view of Tonga’s record and prospects

Tonga team guide

Tonga team guide

07:29 PM BST

Gordon D’arcy on the key to Irish victory:

Set piece is everything. For Ireland to differentiate against Tonga this evening they need a functioning set piece.

07:28 PM BST

Gordon D’arcy: Sexton looks relaxed

He looks relaxed, and that’s not something we often say about Johnny on the field .On the field, it’s always that intensity.

That intensity hasn’t dropped, but I’d say he’s enjoying his rugby.

07:27 PM BST

Former Ireland International Gordon D’arcy on Sexton Starting

I think a lot of the teams that have made a lot of changes have struggled and momentum has been an issue.

I think part of this week is very much a build up into South Africa. It is all about momentum with this Ireland team and Johnny sexton is really important to that.

I think Andy Farrell’s looking at this going, ‘why change that now’.

07:23 PM BST

Our experts’ view of Ireland’s record and prospects

Ireland team guide

Ireland team guide

06:59 PM BST

Strongest Tonga squad ever assembled

While most of the other teams at the Rugby World Cup have already tasted action, the strongest Tonga squad ever assembled have been biding their time in the calm of their Paris hotel by the banks of the River Seine.

World Rugby’s 2021 eligibility rule change means the squad features World Cup winner Malakai Fekitoa and other former All Blacks Charles Piutau, Vaea Fifita, George Moala and Augustine Pulu, as well as former Wallabies lock Adam Coleman.

“It’s an incredibly exciting group of players to be working with, we’ve got a great opportunity with a great group of people to do something special,” assistant coach Zane Hilton said.

“We can’t shy away from the fact that (Ireland) are a great side but we feel there’s a couple of key areas in our game that we want to be world class.”

Hilton was understandably reluctant to expand on what those areas might be but one could be the scrum, where hulking prop Ben Tameifuna plies his trade.

New Zealand-born Tameifuna was called into the All Blacks squad in 2012 but never played a Test, switching his allegiance to Tonga after moving to France to play his club rugby.

Tameifuna said when he first started playing for Ikale Tahi, there was a gulf between the level of coaching, support and player quality he experienced at club level and with Tonga.

“I’ve been in the squad eight, nine years now,” he said. “The standards have risen a lot, you’ve got some top players who have come in and the law change has really boosted the morale of the team and the future of it.

“They know what it takes to be on the international level and obviously with the younger group that we have, we want them to experience and take the learnings from them.”

06:55 PM BST

Team news

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu has named former All Blacks Malakai Fekitoa, Charles Piutau, Vaea Fifita and Augustine Pulu in his team. This could get tasty!

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

Replacements: 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

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

06:53 PM BST

Ireland v Tonga preview: “We’re here to fire some shots”

Ireland continue their Rugby World Cup campaign tonight by taking on Tonga in Nantes.

Andy Farrell’s men are seeking a second successive Pool B win ahead of pivotal Paris appointments with South Africa and Scotland after beginning the competition with a thumping 82-8 success over Romania.

But this is not your average Tonga team and Ireland’s team selection suggests they are taking their opponents very seriously…

Strong selection

With the formidable Springboks looming large, there were suggestions head coach Farrell may make sweeping changes to his starting line-up. But the Englishman has resisted temptation and gone almost full strength. Only sidelined hooker Dan Sheehan and scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park are missing from arguably his preferred XV. Farrell made clear he wishes to prioritise the immediate challenge rather than become preoccupied by potential injury setbacks and the forthcoming threat of the reigning world champions. Some fans and pundits disagree with that logic. Only time will tell if it is the correct call.

Sexton seeking more history

Johnny Sexton returned with a bang in Bordeaux. His first competitive outing in almost six months following injury and suspension included two tries as part of a 24-point haul. The impressive return propelled him above Ronan O’Gara as Ireland’s leading World Cup points scorer (102) on the day he became his country’s oldest international. Further history beckons for the 38-year-old in Nantes. He needs just 10 more points to surpass O’Gara as Ireland’s outright record points scorer. Captain Sexton, who will retire after the tournament, is not contemplating personal glory. “It will be a very special moment individually but no-one else will really care,” he said.

Avoiding deja vu

Ireland require little reminder of the risks of underestimating weaker opposition at the World Cup. With influential fly-half Sexton rested, they were stunned by hosts Japan under Joe Schmidt in 2019, which ultimately led to a quarter-final exit at the hands of New Zealand. Farrell was assistant to Schmidt back then. But he insists the upset in Shizuoka has not influenced his strong selection. Ireland only need to look back to Thursday evening, when a second-string France side survived a major scare against Uruguay, for further evidence of the dangers posed by emerging nations.

Tough start for Tonga

Tonga have been drawn in the tournament’s trickiest pool, with the world’s top-ranked nation up first. Toutai Kefu’s side, who had a weekend off in round one, are well aware of their underdog status. “We’re not delusional to the challenge we face,” said assistant coach Tyler Bleyendaal. Yet the ranks of the Pacific islanders have been significantly bolstered thanks to a change of international eligibility rules. Former All Blacks Malakai Fekitoa, a World Cup winner in 2015, Charles Piutau, Augustine Pulu and Vaea Fifita are among their starting XV. Bleyendaal anticipates a physical encounter. “We’re here to really fire some shots,” said the former Munster player.

The heat is on

Ireland will welcome a significant reduction in temperature following the scorching conditions endured at Stade de Bordeaux. Farrell’s players defied heat of 36 degrees Celsius to run in 12 tries against Romania, while it was again uncomfortably warm on Friday afternoon when they trained at Stade de la Beaujoire. The forecast for Saturday’s 9pm kick-off local time is a more manageable 22 degrees, with light winds, clear skies and a low chance of precipitation following possible thundery showers earlier in the day. That said, humidity is expected to be high and will add to the intensity as Ireland once again bid to deliver under pressure.

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)

News Agencies

About Author

The latest news from the News Agencies

You may also like

italy wins uefa euro 2020

Italy wins on penalties UEFA EURO 2020 Final, Italy vs England highlights:

Spread the loveItaly wins the UEFA Euro 2020 Final: Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two penalties as the Azzurri claimed their second
raybak abdesselem
Editor Picks Sports

Raybak Abdesselem is excited to be a part of Olympics 2024

Spread the loveIf ever you are looking for a story to be inspired by, then there are few better people