After a physical opening encounter against South Africa, Gregor Townsend’s Scotland have enjoyed a healthy break before their second World Cup outing against Tonga on Sunday.

The Springboks overpowered the Scots in their 18-3 defeat but, after a fortnight off, they will be ready to go again against the Tongans in Nice.

Tonga began their World Cup campaign with a 59-16 defeat to Ireland and face another big challenge against a Scotland side that finished third behind the Irish and France in this year’s Six Nations.

Scotland vs Tonga Prediction

  • Tonga +12.5 first half handicap @ 5/6 
  • Scotland -26.5 handicap @ Evs 

Team news

Scotland boss Townsend has made four changes from the side that lost out to the reigning world champions South Africa last time out.

Lock Scott Cummings and winger Kyle Steyn have both been promoted from the bench, while centre Chris Harris and prop Rory Sutherland have also been called into the starting XV.

Tonga have named an unchanged XV, with the two alterations coming on the bench where centre Pat Pellegrini and ex-Australia lock Adam Coleman are included.

The latter could make his debut for Tonga, having previously won 38 caps for the Wallabies.

Tonga +12.5 first half handicap @ 5/6 

Scotland have made a habit of starting games slowly, as they showed in their final warm-up game against Tier 2 opposition before the World Cup.

The Scots were trailing Georgia 6-0 at half-time in that encounter at Murrayfield, before storming away in the second half to win 33-6.

While Townsend and his coaching staff will be eager to see their side start brightly in Nice, expect Tonga to come flying out the blocks with some trademark big hits to make life difficult for the Scots.

Looking at the half-time handicap market, and given Scotland’s tendency to go through the gears in the second half, Tonga with +12.5 points at the break looks to be the way to go here.

Scotland -26.5 handicap @ Evs 

With Scotland’s attacking threats and superior fitness, the fifth-ranked team in the world should have too much for Tonga come the full-time whistle.

Expect fly-half Finn Russell to keep the Tongan defence honest with chips in behind, while also looking to kick out wide to the likes of Steyn and try-machine Duhan van der Merwe.

Scotland should also have added impact off the bench in the back division, with scrum-half George Horne, centre Huw Jones and winger Darcy Graham all set to be unleashed in the second half.

Even if the game is tight at half-time, Scotland can pull away in the second half and finish on the right side of a -26.5 handicap to keep their World Cup knockout hopes alive. 

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