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Pool B is where all eyes will be on Saturday evening as Ireland take on Tonga at the Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes. This will be Tonga’s opening game of the tournament after they sat out the first weekend’s fixtures whereas Ireland are targeting their second win of the 2023 Rugby World Cup after beating Romania 82-8.
Ireland vs Tonga match predictions
In a group which also includes the current Rugby World Cup holders South Africa, Scotland and Romania, this match will have an effect on both the top and the bottom places of the pool.
Ireland to win with a -36 point handicap @ 1/1 (2.00)
Although commentators and pessimistic Irish fans will never tire of telling us all that Ireland have never gone beyond a Rugby World Cup quarter final stage, this 2023 team in green are on a different level to any seen before. They are the number one ranked side in the world and had absolutely no problem thrashing Romania by a 74 point margin last weekend.
Tonga are ranked four places above Romania but we still expect them to be on the receiving end of a big defeat in this game.
James Lowe to be first try scorer @ 6/1 (7.00)
Andy Farell has made four changes to his side ahead of this game but the New Zealand born winger, James Lowe, retains his place. He combines power and pace and , with tries against Wales, France, Scotland and England already in 2023, we think he is a good prospect for crossing the line and touching down first in this match.
Can Tonga do anything to tame the Irish powerhouse?
Make no mistake, Tonga are not a bad side, but Ireland are just playing some brilliant rugby right now.
If anyone thought that Ireland’s 2023 Six Nations Grand Slam was a fluke then they were well and truly silenced by the display of Andy Farrell’s side in Bordeaux last Saturday. It is going to take a very good team to come anywhere near stopping Ireland in this tournament and they come into this match after winning each of their last 14 games. Not only are they beating everyone they come up against, but they are doing it with a real confidence and swagger.
Ireland last five:
Ireland 82-8 Romania
Ireland 17-13 Samoa
Ireland 29-10 England
Ireland 33-17 Italy
The world number 15 side are competing in their ninth Rugby World Cup after missing only the 1991 competition. However, in spite of nearly always being present, they are still yet to go beyond a group stage and after being drawn in a tough group this time, it again looks unlikely. They are looking to claim their third successive win after back to back victories over Canada.
Tonga last five:
Tonga 36-12 Canada
Tonga 28-3 Canada
Samoa 34-9 Tonga
Japan 21-16 Tonga
Fiji 36-20 Tonga
Date & Time: Saturday 16th September, 20:00 UK time
Venue: Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
How to watch in UK: ITV
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