The Springboks might be the reigning world champions, and Tonga might have had a mare of a RWC thus far, but the last time the two sides met, things weren’t so cut and dried.
On paper, South Africa are by far the superior team. Their Rugby World Cup record is impressive with 38 victories from 46 matches, crowned champions three times. Conversely, Tonga has faced challenges with 8 wins in their 31 matches. Yet, their previous face-off in France was less predictable than the statistics might suggest.
Just five points separated the two sides on that occasion, but the Boks would also go on to win the whole thing in that same year.
Tonga’s journey has been a bit less illustrious. They remain the only of the leading Pacific teams who have never progressed past the Pool stages at a RWC. And it took them six attempts to achieve their first victory, which came against Ivory Coast in 1995.
The Boks are looking to bounce back and keep their record of never losing two pool sage matches at a RWC in tact. Despite last weekend’s 13-8 defeat by Ireland ended the Springboks’ five-match winning streak – their best run since they won seven in a row (2019-2011).
SOUTH AFRICA RWC Results
SOUTH AFRICA RWC HISTORY – TOURNAMENT PLACING
Tonga’s Rugby World Cup results
Like we were saying, Tonga’s journey in the Rugby World Cup has been marked by significant milestones and challenges.
In 2011, they stunned the rugby world by defeating France, a team ranked eight places above them, propelling them to a record high ninth position in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings.
However, their recent performance has been tough, with seven losses in their last eight RWC matches. This includes a substantial 43-point loss to Ireland in 2023, reminiscent of their 2003 defeat to New Zealand.
Despite frequently trailing at half-time, they managed a memorable comeback against the USA in 2019. Their defense in the current tournament has been tested, conceding over 100 points in just the first two matches.
On a brighter note, Ben Tameifuna’s try against Scotland marked their 500th RWC point. However, discipline remains an area of concern, with Tonga equaling the record of four red cards in RWCs, shared with Canada and Samoa.
Fun fact: At 151kgs, big Ben Tameifuna is officially the heaviest player at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Tonga’s RWC HISTORY – TOURNAMENT PLACING
TONGA RWC Points and Cards Statistics
|RWC Points||Passed 500 points (Ben Tameifuna’s try vs Scotland)|
|Red Cards in RWCs||4 (Joint record with Canada and Samoa)|
South Africa vs Tonga: Head to head
|Wins by South Africa||2|
|Wins by Tonga||0|
|Points For (South Africa)||104|
|Points For (Tonga)||35|
|Highest Score (South Africa)||74 (74-10 on 10 June, 1997)|
|Highest Score (Tonga)||25 (25-30 on 22 September, 2007)|
|Biggest Winning Margin (South Africa)||64 (74-10 on 10 June, 1997)|