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Rugby World Cup Pool C: Tonga’s tournament starts with Georgia game

Pacific Islanders Tonga can get off to a winning start at the 2015 Rugby World Cup when they play Georgia, and Coral make the White Dove firm odds-on 1/6 favourites for victory.

Neither Tonga nor their Eastern European opposition have ever got past the group stage, and it’s going to be tough for them again at this edition in England, as tournament favourites New Zealand and Argentina are in pole position to advance.

African outfit Namibia complete Pool C, though, and with the All Blacks playing their closest challengers first, this is a real chance for Tonga to put pressure on Argentina early.

Their form could not be more different to Georgia’s. Terrific Tonga have won five of the last eight, including victories over fellow Rugby World Cup finalists Japan and Canada, but their opponents are on a four-match losing streak and that explains why it’s 4/1 for the Crepuscular Rays to cause an upset.

If the 2014 meeting is any indicator, when Tonga triumphed in Tbilisi 23-9, then they’ll be no rays of hope for Georgia, but backing the Pacific outfit to win by a margin of 11-20 points at 9/4 is much more attractive than their outright match betting price.

The White Dove should deliver and cross first, having done so in eight of their last 11 matches, especially as the Rays have fallen behind in five of their last nine. Georgia have also conceded opening tries to Pacific Island nations on the four occasions they have been paired with such opposition this century.

All signs thus point to the first scoring play to be Tonga going over at a tasty 10/3.

White Dove winger Fetu’u Vainikolo, meanwhile, has 16 tries in his last 21 caps, and having a prolific asset like that underlines the gulf in class between his nation and Georgia. Odds of 6/5 say he will cross anytime here, and Vainikolo is a 6/1 shot to go over first.

Coral’s top tip: A victorious margin of 11-20 points for Tonga is a nifty 9/4.