21 Jul 2021

'Ikale Tahi to face England in November

8:44 am on 21 July 2021

Tonga will face Rugby World Cup finalists England in the opening match of their November tour.

The test at Twickenham on November 6 will be the kingdom's first in the Northern Hemisphere since 2018, following the World Cup and disruption caused by the global pandemic.

Tonga halfback Sonatane Takulua passes the ball during the 2019 Rugby World Cup match against England.

Tonga halfback Sonatane Takulua passes the ball during the 2019 Rugby World Cup match against England. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 'Ikale Tahi last faced England at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, where they were beaten 35-3 in their opening pool game.

Coach Toutai Kefu said Tonga is still finalising their fixtures for the November window with games two teams being finalised and the possibility of a fourth.

"There's a game against England, a game against French Barbarians and Romania - maybe one more game added to that. It's still in the process of negotiations but it looks like it will go ahead."

England coach Eddie Jones said the match will continue their rivalry from the World Cup "where we had a good, tough game against them".

"They produce a lot of good players and play physical, exciting rugby. It's a great way to start our autumn internationals," he said.

Twickenham has a capacity of 82,000 and is expected to be full come November, with the UK Government relaxing restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

England's Kyle Sinckler tackled by Tongan defenders.

England's Kyle Sinckler tackled by Tongan defenders. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Visiting teams do not receive any cut of gate-takings but the RFU said it will make a donation to the Tonga Rugby Union as a gesture of goodwill and is also working with World Rugby and Tonga to make coaching and other resource personnel available to the kingdom.