Rugby World Cup 2019: Tonga

  • 01/04/2019

World ranking: 15th

Qualification: Second in Oceania

Best result: Pool stage

TAB odds: $501

Chances: Quite conceivable that Tonga will emerge from the 'pool of death' with no wins.

The Pacific Islanders pulled off one of the big upsets of the 2011 tournament, beating eventual finalists France in pool play - but even that couldn't get them any further. 

Leading players:

James Faiva

Spanish club SilverStorm El Salvador are not known for providing lots of Rugby World Cup players, but they are home to Tonga's secret weapon. 

The 25-year-old flyhalf, who won his first caps in the recent Pacific Nations Cup, has impressed Toutai Kefu with his form in Spain and the coach hopes he will lead the islanders’ attack.

Kurt Morath is the incumbent playmaker, but can shift to second-five, meaning Faiva could be unleashed on the world stage. 

Ben Tameifuna

The former New Zealand U20 international was selected for the All Blacks against Ireland in 2012, but was never capped. 

The prop impressed for the Chiefs in a 65-game stint from 2012-2015, before signing a big-money deal for Racing 92 in France.

With his All Black dream on the backburner, Tameifuna committed to Tonga, making his debut against Wales in 2017.

A powerful scrum exponent, 'Big Ben' will be crucial to the Pacific Island side's chances of causing a World Cup boilover.

Much like they did in 2011, when they topped France - who they play again in Japan.


Forwards: Siegfried ‘Fisiihoi, Vunipola Fifita, Latu ‘Talakai, Paula ‘Ngauamo, Sosefo ‘Sakalia, Siua Maile, Siua ‘Halanukonuka, Ma’afu Fia, Ben Tameifuna, Sam Lousi, Leva Fifita, Sitiveni Mafi, Sione Kalamafoni, Maama ‘Vaipulu, Fotu ‘Lokotui, Zane ‘Kapeli, Dan Faleafa, Nasi Manu.

Backs: Sonatane Takulua, Leon ‘Fukofuka, Samisoni Fisilau, Kurt Morath, James ‘Faiva, Siale Piutau, Malietoa Hingano, Nafi Tuitavake, Atieli Pakalani, David Halaifonua, Viliami Lolohea, Cooper Vuna, Telusa Veainu.

Pool draw (NZT)
September 22
England v Tonga, Sapporo, 10:15pm 

September 28
Argentina v Tonga, Higashiosaka City, 4:45pm 

October 6
France v Tonga, Kumamoto City, 8:45pm 

October 13
USA v Tonga, Higashiosaka City, 6:45pm 


Rugby World Cup 2019 Dictionary

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...