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Tonga Rugby Crest

Tonga qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, making them the last side to be slotted in Pool C, along with England, France, Argentina, and the USA. The Tongans made it as the Oceania 2 nation.

In this year’s Pacific Nations Cup, Tonga beat Samoa, which will compete in a RWC 2019 playoff against a European fifteen, either Portugal or the Czech Republic. All three Pacific Nations sides played in the 2015 RWC in England.

Historically, the USA stand 1-8 versus Tonga, the Eagles last victory coming in 1999. Of note, the USA have never defeated the other three competitors in Pool C.

The quadrennial RWC has not seen many upsets in the nine past tournaments. Specifically, only five times have Tier two fifteens scored upset victories in pool play: Western Samoa over Wales in 1991, Samoa against Wales in 1999, Fiji versus Wales in 2007, Tonga over France in 2011, and Japan’s spectacular victory against South Africa in 2015.  Even with a 3-1 pool record, Japan did not advance as bonus points moved the Springboks and Scotland into the quarters.

Originally, in that first RWC in 1987, sixteen teams competed, expanding to twenty sides in 2003 when five pools slotted four teams per pool. Since 2003, the format has witnessed four pools of five teams each, the top two finishers in each pool advancing.

It’s still two-years until the beginning of RWC 2019 in Japan.

 

Comments

It is rather unlikely that Samoa will face either Portugal or the Czech Republic, as the winner of their match still has to face the #2 team (excepting Georgia) from the REC for the right to play Samoa. Considering Portugal just failed to defeat a last-place Belgium team, I don't see them easily beating the likes of Spain or Russia next year.
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