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Ireland vs Tonga Predictions: Rugby World Cup Betting Tips, News, Lineup

By Jonathan Davies

Published: 12:03, 15 September 2023

Ireland look to make it two wins from two at the 2023 Rugby World Cup when they face Tonga on Saturday.

The world’s top-ranked nation launched their campaign with a record-breaking victory over Romania, while their opponents are making their bow in Pool B.

Ireland vs Tonga Betting Tips

History beckons for Fekitoa

Fekitoa is one of several former New Zealand internationals to feature in this new-look Tonga squad.

The centre was part of the All Blacks’ World Cup-winning side of 2015, scoring tries in the victories over Namibia and Georgia along the way.

Although they are heavy underdogs for victory here, you would still expect Tonga to have their moments against the Irish, with Fekitoa likely to carry one of their greater threats.

Frank Bunce is the only player to have scored for two different nations at the World Cup — doing so for Samoa and New Zealand.

And this match could present a decent opportunity for Fekitoa to become the second.

Tip: Malakai Fekitoa to score try at anytime @ 5/1 with Bet365

Ireland to keep building momentum

One game in and Ireland have already broken their record for most points and most tries scored during a single match at the Rugby World Cup.

The Irish have developed an unfortunate reputations as “chokers” having never previously progressed beyond the quarter-finals of the tournament, despite many positive starts.

Farrell will be desperate to ensure they do not follow the same path this time around. His players made a statement of intent against Romania, and he will be encouraging them to continue in that vein with bigger tests to come further down the road.

Another commanding victory would give them plenty of confidence heading into their crucial final two Pool B games against South Africa and Scotland.

Tip: Ireland to win by 36-40 points @ 6/1 with Sky Bet

Ireland vs Tonga team news

Andy Farrell makes four changes to the side that began Ireland’s World Cup campaign against Romania.

Mack Hansen and Conor Murray are recalled to the starting XV, as well as Ronan Kelleher and 2022 World Rugby Player of the Year Josh van der Flier.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Craig Casey, Ross Byrne, Robbie Henshaw.

Malakai Fekitoa is one of four former New Zealand players in Tonga’s starting XV, along with Vaea Fifita, Salesi Piutau and Augustine Pulu.

Among the substitutes is Sonatone Takulua, who recently became the first Tonga international to win 50 caps.

Tonga: Salesi Piutau, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Malakai Fekitoa, Pita Ahki, Solomone Kata, William Havili, Augustine Pulu; Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Paula Ngauamo, Ben Tameifuna, Sam Lousi, Halaleva Fifita, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Sione Talitui, Vaea Fifita.

Replacements: Sam Moli, Tau Koloamatangi, Sosefo Apikotoa, Semisi Paea, Solomone Funaki, Sione Vailanu, Sonatane Takulua, Fine Inisi.