Tonga Springboks

Tonga huddle.
All Blacks v Tonga, Steinlager Series, international rugby union test match. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. New Zealand. Saturday 3 July 2021. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Springboks Rugby World Cup group confirmed after Tonga qualify

Tonga have qualified for the 2023 Rugby World Cup completing the lineup of the Sprungboks’ Pool B.

Tonga Springboks

Tonga huddle.
All Blacks v Tonga, Steinlager Series, international rugby union test match. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. New Zealand. Saturday 3 July 2021. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Tonga have qualified for the 2023 Rugby World Cup completing the lineup of the tournament’s Pool B alongside the Springboks.

The Springboks also share the group with fellow URC nations Ireland and Scotland who have qualified for the tournament on the basis of ranking.

Romania endured a dramatic qualification process that concluded with a disciplinary process against Spain, who had initially gained the place in Pool B.

The Oaks faced the Springboks at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in a match that turned into a real grind for the eventual winners.

Tonga join the Springboks in Pool B

Tonga booked their place by virtue of a comfortable victory over Hong Kong over the weekend.

Scrumhalf Sonatane Takulua scored a hat-trick in the match and admitted afterwards that Tonga were relieved to reach the World Cup.

“I’m lucky enough to have got three tries but it wasn’t just me — it was the effort from all the boys,” Takulua said.

“To get the win tonight is a big relief.”

Tonga have faced each of the tier one nations in their group at previous RWCs but haven’t notched a win against any of them

In perhaps another good omen for the Springboks, Tonga were in their group the last time the RWC was in France and South Africa went all the way on that occasion.

Springboks
The Springboks beat Tonga 30-25 at the 2007 RWC. Photo: World Rugby

Tonga gave the Springboks an almighty scare in that group game, pushing them all the way in a 30-25 victory for the men in green and gold.

The islanders have won just one match at each of the last two tournaments and aren’t expected to mount a serious challenge for progression.

They will bring a physical presence that could give even the best teams some uncomfortable moments.

Only the All Blacks (In 2011 and 2015) have been able to win back to back Rugby World Cups.

The next edition of the Rugby World Cup kicks off on 8 September 2023.