Tonga coach warns Ireland they're in for a bruishing battle

Tonga coach Tyler Bleyendaal warns Ireland they’re in for a bruishing battle as he plans for side to ‘fire some shorts’ at Andy Farrell’s ‘well-oiled machine’

  • The Pacific Islanders – ranked 15th – missed on out the opening weekend  
  • Bleyendaal is familiar with many in the Ireland squad after playing for Munster 
  • Drawn into the toughest pool, Tonga will also face Springboks and Scotland 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

Tonga assistant coach Tyler Bleyendaal says his side will ‘fire some shots’ at Ireland’s ‘well-oiled machine’ on Saturday, as he warned them to expect a bruising encounter in Nantes.

The Pacific Islanders, ranked 15th in the world, are playing catch-up in the tournament’s toughest pool after sitting out the opening weekend.

Bleyendaal is familiar with many of Andy Farrell’s squad following a five-year stint playing for Munster from 2015.

‘One of the big challenges is how together they are. They’ve played a lot of time together and they’re a pretty well-oiled machine, No1 in the world,’ said the 33-year-old New Zealander. ‘We’re going to have to be quite physical, we’re going to have to win the breakdown battle, the tackle battle and have a really strong set-piece.

‘That’s the foundation of our game and that’s what we’re going to have to do.’

Tonga also face the might of reigning champions South Africa and Scotland in the coming weeks, in addition to minnows Romania.

‘The reality is they’re much better, more complete teams than us because they’re playing at a higher level of competition more often,’ said Bleyendaal.

‘That doesn’t change our ambition, our preparation. We’re here to really fire some shots.’

The side – ranked 15th in the world – missed out on action on opening weekend and are playing catch-up with their first clash against Ireland

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