Scotland defeat Tonga to keep RWC quarters dream alive

Scotland players celebrate. Photo Courtesy/scottish rugby

Scotland kept their quarter-final hopes alive with a 45-17 bonus-point victory over Tonga in a physical Pool B battle at Stade de Nice.

Hooker George Turner was driven over by his fellow forwards to give them a perfect start on five minutes but Tonga responded to grab the lead when winger Solomone Kata raced clear.

Wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn bagged quick tries before flanker Rory Darge secured the bonus point on the stroke of half-time after wing Afusipa Taumoepeau was yellow carded.

Skipper Ben Tameifuna smashed his way through the Scotland defence to bring his side within seven points, but tries from replacement scrum-half George Horne, full-back Blair Kinghorn and replacement wing Darcy Graham sealed their first win of Rugby World Cup.

Mastercard Player of the Match Van der Merwe spoke on the physicality of the game post-match: “It was pretty tough out there for the first half an hour.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been hit like that before. But with boys like Finn [Russell] giving me opportunities, it’s just amazing.”

Scotland’s stand-in captain Finn Russell added on the team’s hopes of getting out of the pool: “We’re going to have to get better if we want to stay in this competition after the group stages but we got what we needed tonight, which was a bonus point win.”

Tonga captain Tameifuna said the result is a reflection of where his team are: “We can now see what it’s like to be at the top level, so we just have to keep our heads down and keep chugging forward.”

Coach Toutai Kefu is already looking forward to Tonga’s next game: “South Africa is a massive challenge. You don’t play the Springboks that often so the boys will be up for that. We will keep punching away.”

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