England vs Tonga RWC’07 teams and preview

England vs Tonga RWC’07 teams and preview

Knowing as we now do that everyone hates England, it’s understandable as to why there’s so much interest in this do or die effort tonight for both teams. Tonga also has the meanest fros. Here are a quick few thoughts on the game, plus the teams and stuff.

The greatest ever rugby winger (64 tries) and anti-christ to the Poms, David Campese summarised the situation pretty well:

“TONGA to beat England in Paris tonight? Nothing would make me happier.

As a Pom-basher from way back, it would give me great delight to see the Tongans send the defending champions tumbling from the World Cup before the quarter-finals.

It would be a fantastic lift for the game worldwide and send a clear message to the International Rugby Board that the South Pacific Island nations, with more help from the governing body, could develop into genuine top-rung competitors.

Unfortunately, I just can’t see the dream coming to fruition at Stade de France.”

Which will be a pity for the Tongans because they did a great job against the Samoans, basically destroying their whole tournament, and then delivered the best game of the cup so far against the Boks.

For England, they need to zone in on some team cohesion, especially in the back row and centres, pretty damn quick, not just for this game, but for any further ones. Anyone who watched the Samoan game won’t be fooled by the eventual scoreline.

My expectation is that the Tongans will run England close for a while, and even give them a scare, but the meat-grinding pommy pack will eventually take its toll. Add to the mix a Tongan yellow card or two and it’ll be lights out.

The teams:

England: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Martin Corry (c), 5 Ben Kay, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 George Chuter, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Phil Vickery, 18 Lawrence Dallaglio, 19 Joe Worsley, 20 Peter Richards, 21 Andy Farrell, 22 Dan Hipkiss.

Tonga: 15 Vungakoto Lilo, 14 Tevita Tu’ifua, 13 Sukanaivalu Hufanga, 12 Epeli Taione, 11 Joseph Vaka, 10 Pierre Hola, 9 Sione Tu’ipulotu, 8 Finau Maka, 7 Nili Latu (c), 6 Hale T Pole, 5 Lisiate Fa’aoso, 4 Viliami Vaki, 3 Kisi Pulu, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ephraim Taukafa, 17 Taufa’ao Filise, 18 Maama Molitika, 19 Inoke Afeaki, 20 Soane Havea, 21 Hudson Tonga’uiha, 22 Aisea Havili.

Date: Friday, September 28
Kick-off: 21:00 (20:00 BST; 19:00 GMT)
Venue: Parc des Princes, Paris
Conditions: Light rain – high 13°C, low 12°C
Referee: Alain Rolland
Touch judges: Craig Joubert, Christophe Berdos
Television match official: Mark Lawrence
Assessor: Bob Francis.


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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