- World Cup 2023: Schedule and results
- World Cup 2023: rankings by Pools
Van der Merwe's return to the foreground
Finally! After a tough match against his former South African compatriots in the first World Cup match, winger Duhan van der Merwe returned to form against Tonga. Despite losing the ball and a Kata try he couldn't avoid, the Scottish colossus scored a try (26th) and often unlocked situations. Like this long ride on his wing (70th). Van der Merwe carried 10 balls, broke 14 tackles and covered 144 metres. Solid.
Strategically, the Scots have it all figured out
The XV of the Thistle has analyzed well the Tongan match against Ireland. And perfectly mastered his counterpart of the day. In the footwork first, where White, Russell and Kinghorn in particular, perfectly swept the Tongan back triangle in all corners of the field. Then offensively where Russell's teammates perfectly managed the random defensive rises. The bench also brought freshness and power, suffocating the Ikale Tahi.
One only has to look at Vaea Fifita's casual and dangerous gesture on Finn Russell to understand Tongan helplessness. Mentally and especially physically, the Ikale Tahi lost their footing despite a satisfactory return after the break. The inaccuracies and clumsiness followed one another at the end of the game and the Tongans were never able to score afterwards... Disappointing.
A non-existent defence
How to explain that Pita Ahki, excellent defender and arguably one of the best three-quarter centre in the Top 14, seemed so lost defensively on the Scottish game launches? Hard to know. The Tongan climbs were hazardous, as on van der Merwe's test (26th) where Kata was overwhelmed and then on Steyn's second on which Ahki was caught. In the second half, the Tongan defence took the water, especially on Horne's try where nearly three players went through.