SCOTLAND will play Tonga at Murrayfield on Saturday 30th October, as a pre-cursor to the three matches which have already been arranged for Gregor Townsend’s teams inside World Rugby’s official international window against Australia, South Africa and Japan on consecutive weekends in November.
Today’s press release highlighted the value of Scotland getting an extra game under their belts in the lead-up to the 2023 World Cup, however the need to increase ticket revenues after 16 months of limited or no crowds is also a pressing matter.
“Ticket offers for the Tonga match – which is expected to be played with an afternoon kick-off – are being developed to help make the game accessible to everyone and will also be distributed in support of good causes,” said the release.
Tonga last faced Scotland at Murrayfield 20 years ago in a 43-20 win for the home side in 2001. The teams have faced each other twice since then, both in Scotland, with a win apiece in fixtures played in Aberdeen in 2012 and Kilmarnock in 2014.
“Following Scotland’s disrupted summer campaign we are pleased to be able to welcome Tonga to BT Murrayfield as part of our Autumn Nations Series,” said Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson.
“I’d like to thank Tonga Rugby CEO Peter Harding and the Tongan Rugby Union for their proactivity in working with us to secure this fixture to ensure we can give fans, players and coaches another test match to enjoy in 2021.
“Matches with Tonga are always competitive and physically demanding games and we feel this is the ideal way for our Autumn Nations Series to kick off and we look forward to welcoming Tonga back to Scotland.”
The Pacific Islanders will face England at Twickenham the following weekend on 6th November.
Harding said: “The intention of the ‘Ikale Tahi is to always walk toward the challenge of playing the best teams as often as we can and the exciting team currently playing under Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend certainly provides a challenge.”