World Cup Preview: Tonga v Italy

It’s quite simple – Italy need to beat Tonga to book a quarter-final date with New Zealandon Friday.

Anything other than an Italy win would mean Scotland go through to the last eight.

It would be cruel on Steve McCormack’s men, given they have gone through the group stage unbeaten, but Italy go in to the match as favourites, having beaten Wales 32-16 and drawn 30-all with Scotland so far.

McCormack said: “We are going to watch it as a team in the hotel. We’ll either be going to Headingley or going back to work, we’ve done all we can.

“We’ve given ourselves a chance, and all we can do now is hope.

Tonga can put in a good performance. They have got something to play for – they’re proud to represent their country and no doubt they’ll come out firing. They won’t want to come away from the World Cupwithout two wins.

“To not lose a game at the World Cup is a fantastic achievement. I’ve been in the job 10 years and done two World Cups, I can’t believe I’m sat here still doing what I’m doing.”

Tonga are playing for nothing but pride, despite their 22-16 win over Cook Islands on Tuesday night. They had hoped for a favour from USA on Thursday night, but their 22-8 defeat to Scotland meant there was no way Tonga could get through.

Italy squad: Chris Centrone, Cameron Ciraldo, Ben Falcone, Ryan Ghietti, Aidan Guerra, Gavin Hiscox, Anthony Laffranchi, Joshua Mantellato, Tim Maccan, Anthony Minichiello, Mark Minichiello, Raymond Nasso, Dean Parata, Joel Riethmuller, Brendan Santi, Kade Snowden, James Tedesco, Ryan Tramonte, Paul Vaughan

Tonga: TBC

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