Tonga drops captain Takulua before facing Ireland at Rugby World Cup

NANTES, France (AP) — Tonga has dropped its captain and most experienced player — Sonatane Takulua — for its Rugby World Cup opening match against top-ranked Ireland on Saturday in Nantes. Takulua was in the reserves for the first time since July 2015, making way at scrumhalf for Augustine Pulu. Pulu is among four former All Blacks in the side. Tighthead prop Ben Tameifuna takes over the captaincy. Ireland has plumped for the old firm of Conor Murray and captain Jonathan Sexton as the halves in a 69th test together. Ireland is even closer to full strength than it was when it beat Romania 82-8 last weekend. Murray has come in along with flanker Josh van der Flier, hooker Ronan Kelleher and winger Mack Hansen.

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