After surprisingly suffering defeat to Georgia in their first World Cup game, Tonga coach Mana Otai is rafting in the changes for the clash with Namibia.
Having admitted that they got their tactics wrong in the 17-10 loss to the Georgians in Gloucester, Tonga have had 10 full days with which to plan their next move.
Otai’s changes will see his side put out the oldest and most experienced Tonga XV ever to take to a World Cup pitch for a game they are 1/12 to win with Ladbrokes.
The changes include an entirely different front five, in what is expected to be a contest between two forward-dominated teams.
Opponents Namibia make eight changes themselves after a valiant 58-14 loss to New Zealand in a result which was well inside the handicap, with some expecting the All Blacks to post a record victory at the Olympic Stadium.
Beginning your campaign against one of the best sides in world rugby could be a blessing in disguise for the Namibians, who are 8/1 to win the match.
No doubt buoyed by that experience, the Welwitschias should be fully up to speed for the demands of this tournament and have the capability to frustrate their opponents at Exeter Chief’s Sandy Park.
Tonga are yet to prove they can do the necessary and clinically take teams apart, despite their raw talents within the squad.
As such, evens on Namibia +22 could prove shrewd.
Should Ikale Tahi find themselves frustrated against a side which has never won a Rugby World Cup game, the 11/10 on under 5.5 tries could prove rewarding.
With a low-scoring game very likely if Namibia start well, 5/6 on under 50.5 total points may merit attention – considering each of Tonga’s last three World Cup matches have come in at under 50 points.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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