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RWC Pool C Preview – England vs Tonga

The final of three Sunday matches at RWC 2019 will see England facing Tonga in Sapporo. With this being a Pool B clash it is of vital importance to both Argentina, and the USA.

In a mild start for the pools favorites, England will be up against the bottom seeds from the group. This has not seen Eddie Jones naming a lineup of reserves. To the contrary a powerful side will start.

Captain Owen Farrell has been named at inside center. The decision from Jones sees George Ford starting at fly half, doing so in a halves combination with Ben Youngs while Farrell will form a mid-field combination with Manu Tuilagi.

Out wide Jones has also named England’s finest with the speed and firepower of Jonny May and Anthony Watson on the wings and and class of Elliot Daly at fullback.

In the forwards Joe Marler starts ahead of the injured Mako Vunipola at loose head prop. This sees the Harlequins’ duo of Joe Marler and Kyle Sinckler starting together as the props. Jamie George joins them in the front-row as the hooker.

Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje will lock the scrum. The former will be appearing in his third Rugby World Cup while the latter will be making his RWC debut. Additional youth can be seen in the back-row with Tom Curry and Sam Underhill named as the players. N8 Billy Vunipola will be playing in his second RWC, doing so twenty years after his father, Fe’ao Vunipola captained Tonga.

Featuring for Tonga will be cancer survivor Nasi Manu. Named to play his first rugby match since overcoming cancer, Manu would not play rugby in 2018 as he underwent months of chemotherapy. He has been named on the bench.

Tonga have not named their strongest roster, an indication of giving preference to their second match which is to be against Argentina. This sees no place for Steve Mafi or Telusa Veainu in the 23 to face England.

will have no shortage of size up front. Forming the front-row will be Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Sefo Sakalia, and Ben Tameifuna. The remaining starting forwards are to be Sam Lousi, and Leva Fifita in the second-row; and Sione Kalamafoni, Zane Kapeli, and Ma’ama Vaipulu in the back-row.

Tane Takulua and Kurt Morath are to be the starting halves. Morath will have the opportunity to add to his record high of 340 points for Tonga. The former Utah Warrior is to play in his third Rugby World Cup tournament.

Former Wallaby Cooper Vuna will play inside center. He qualifies via the Olympic loophole ruling. Outside him will be captain Siale Piutau, the brother of former New Zealand winger Charles Piutau.

Viliami Lolohea, Afa Pakalani, and David Halaifonua complete the starting line-up as the back-three. None of them played in Tonga’s most recent RWC match which was against New Zealand in Newcastle, England. The returnees from that match are Sanatane Takulua, Siale Piutau, Sione Kalamafoni and Kurt Morath.

Sunday’s match will be the third capped test match between England and Tonga. The first was at RWC 1999 with England winning 101-10 while the second was also an English victory in a RWC pool match. Unlike the first it was competitive with England winning 36-20.

England goes into RWC 2019 on the back of impressive performances in the warm-up matches. The same cannot be said of Tonga who conceded over 90 points in a loss against New Zealand. England are well positioned to win in Sapporo, going into the game as favorites to win by 55 points.

RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED

ENG (on 88.13 points) -vs- TON (on 71.04 points) in a RWC match

Possible Outcome Rating Point
Will TON
overtake ENG?
If ENG win by 1-15 points 0.000 88.13 71.04 No
If ENG win by more than 15 0.000 88.13 71.04 No
If result is a draw 2.000 86.13 73.04 No
If TON win by 1-15 points 4.000 84.13 75.04 No
If TON win by more than 15 6.000 82.13 77.04 No

1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Billy Vunipola, 9 Ben Youngs, 10 George Ford, 11 Jonny May, 12 Owen Farrell (capt.), 13 Manu Tuilagi, 14 Anthony Watson, 15 Elliot Daly

Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jonathan Joseph

1 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 2 Sefo Sakalia, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 4 Sam Lousi, 5 Leva Fifita, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Zane Kapeli, 8 Ma’ama Vaipulu, 9 Tane Takulua, 10 Kurt Morath, 11 Viliami Lolohea, 12 Cooper Vuna, 13 Siale Piutau (capt.), 14 Afa Pakalani, 15 David Halaifonua

Replacements: 16 Siua Maile, 17 Latu Talakai, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Nasi Manu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 James Faiva, 23 Nafi Tu’itavake

Date: Sunday, September 22
Kick-Off: 19:15 local (03:15 Pacific, 06:15 Eastern, 07:15 Rio de la Plata)
Venue: Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistants: Mathieu Raynal (France) & Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Broadcasts: ESPN 3 (Latin/South America), NBCSN (USA), TSN 1/3 (Canada)

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