Tonga Ikale Tahi

Tupaea to start as one of four All Black debutants

Quinn Tupaea will start at second five-eighth, with prop George Bower, loose forward Ethan Blackadder and halfback Finlay Christie set to make their Test debuts from the bench.

Tupaea fills a void left by the injuries to a number of mid-fielders including Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Braydon Ennor, while Ngani Laumape has decided to play in France.

Tonga fly-half James Faiva proves combine initiative can yield rich harvest

The countries meet in their opening Pool C match in Sapporo on Sunday and the presence of Faiva is testament to the talent identification "combines" run by World Rugby to help improve the strength in depth of Tier 2 nations.

Faiva (pictured above) impressed in a World Rugby-funded Pacific Islands Combine in Fiji that featured young talent from across the region, earning himself a contract in New Zealand's Mitre 10 competition.

Tonga's main three threats to England in Sunday's World Cup opener

The England players will be well aware of some of the more potent players in the Tonga side when they meet in Sapporo, with a number of them playing alongside one another in the Gallagher Premiership on a week-in, week-out basis.

There are also some fresher faces in the forms of Vunipola Fifita of the Brumbies or New Zealand club rugby hooker Siua Maile, but if Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu has any chance of springing a remarkable upset – or at least pushing England closer than many expect – he will need to lean heavily on three of his star performers.