Ireland vs Tonga Prediction, Odds & Picks | 2023 Rugby World Cup
Even though it is still a week away, it’s hard not to already look forward to the massive Pool B matchup between reigning Rugby World Cup champions South Africa and Ireland, the current number one ranked team in the world.
However, before that seismic showdown at the Stade de France, both sides are busy with inferior opposition this weekend. Tomorrow, Ireland will meet Tonga in Nantes (3:00 pm ET, Peacock), while South Africa will face Romania on Sunday in Bordeaux (9:00 am ET, CNBC/Peacock).
Ireland’s quest to finally win the Rugby World Cup for the first time began with a record-setting rout of Romania last Saturday, and they are favored to take down Tonga by a large margin.
But with some notable names in their squad, can Tonga keep things somewhat respectable on the scoreboard?
Ireland vs Tonga Odds
Odds are via Bovada.
- Ireland -36.5 (-115)
- Tonga +36.5 (-105)
- Ireland -10000
- Tonga +2500
- Draw +6600
- Over 61 (-115)
- Under 61 (-105)
Team Totals Over/Under
- Over 49.5 (-105)
- Under 49.5 (-115)
- Over 11.5 (-115)
- Under 11.5 (-105)
Ireland Unlikely to Repeat Romania Rout
In their Rugby World Cup opener last Saturday, Ireland mercilessly poured on the points in an 82-8 mauling of Romania.
They scored their second-most points of all time, recorded their second-biggest winning margin, and set team records for most points and biggest winning margin in a Rugby World Cup game.
Ireland went with a strong squad against Romania and are doing the same against Tonga. There are four changes, but they aren’t making the kind of wholesale changes made by the tournament hosts in Thursday’s France vs Uruguay match.
As a result, we may see captain Johnny Sexton, who retains his place in the starting XV, become Ireland’s all-time record points scorer.
After tallying 24 points–tying a record for an Ireland player in a Rugby World Cup match–against Romania, Sexton is now Ireland’s record holder for most World Cup points. Also, he is just ten points from surpassing Ronan O’Gara’s all-time points record.
Sexton should set the record Saturday, but don’t expect Ireland to come close to the points haul they piled up against Romania or what will likely occur in New Zealand vs Namibia.
Prior to the Romania match, Ireland had gone 16 consecutive matches without scoring 50+ points. The previous time had been in a 57-6 win over Italy in February 2022. That match had also been the most recent time 63 or more points had been scored in an Ireland match.
Last Five Matches for Ireland
- Romania (World Cup): Won 82-8
- Samoa (World Cup warm-up): Won 17-13
- England (World Cup warm-up): Won 29-10
- Italy (World Cup warm-up): Won 33-17
- England (Six Nations): Won 29-16
Also, while Tonga have won only eight times in 29 Rugby World Cup matches, they have allowed 50+ points only twice, in a 101-10 loss to England in 1999 and a 91-7 loss to New Zealand in 2003.
For the most part, the Ikale Tahi (Sea Eagles) have had respectable showings against the better teams in world rugby in World Cup play, highlighted by a 19-14 win over eventual losing finalists France in 2011.
In 2007, the last time France hosted the tournament, they lost by only five points to eventual champions South Africa and by 16 to England, who lost to the Springboks in the final. In the latter match, one of England’s four tries was scored by Andy Farrell, who is now Ireland’s head coach.
How competitive can they be in Saturday’s match? Well, this is the strongest squad Tonga have ever had at a World Cup.
Last Five Matches for Tonga
- Canada (World Cup warm-up): Won 36-12
- Canada (World Cup warm-up): Won 28-3
- Samoa (Pacific Nations Cup): Lost 34-9
- Japan (Pacific Nations Cup): Lost 21-16
- Fiji (Pacific Nations Cup): Lost 36-20
Changes in eligibility rules allowed them to bring in the likes of Vaea Fifita (11 appearances for New Zealand), Malakai Fekitoa (24 appearances for New Zealand), George Moala (four appearances for New Zealand), and Charles Piutau (17 appearances for New Zealand.
So, Ireland should have much more of a challenge in Nantes than they did in Bordeaux.
Ireland vs Tonga Prediction and Picks
Prediction: Ireland to win
Picks: Ireland/Tonga under 61 (-105 at Bovada) & Tonga team total over 11.5 points (-115 at Bovada)
Just how much of a challenge will be there be? It would take the most extraordinary of efforts for Tonga to come close to an upset in this match. But with the experience and quality that the Ikale Tahi have in their squad, I think they will put in a performance to be proud of.
Where to Bet on the 2023 Rugby World Cup
While rugby may not be one of the most widely watched or bet on sports in the United States, the Rugby World Cup always draws a lot of attention.
In fact, you can find 2023 Rugby World Cup odds at many of the top sports betting sites available to bettors in the USA.
In addition to Bovada, here are some of the online sportsbooks that we recommend which offer odds on each game in the tournament, as well as Rugby World Cup winner futures odds:
If you don’t have an account at a book on this list, check out our in-depth reviews to help you determine if it is worth your interest and your betting funds. Happy betting, and please bet responsibly.
Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade and has been with Betting News since 2021. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.
This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Betting News makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.
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