TONGA'S royal dynasty reaches back more than 1000 years to 925. Richie

Dixon's knowledge of Tongan rugby is nothing like so long, but as the

Scottish forwards' coach here on the South Pacific tour, he provides a

link between the past and the present in contact between the countries

who meet at the Stade Le Perouse here tomorrow.

Dixon was at wing forward in the Glasgow team who beat Tonga's 1974

tourists by 33-16 at Hughenden. The Tongans came back from the dead in

scoring four tries in a final flurry.

He remembers those Tongans 19 years ago as preferring to maul. They

were, too, unorthodox, with ball transference more in the seven-a-side

style and frantic support play.

Since then the Tongans, individually as well as collectively, have

learned from more regular contact with New Zealand and Australian rugby.

Tongans now drive fiercely into the tackle, as their Western Samoan

neighbours did in the 1991 World Cup. It borders almost on illegality as

their initial instinct is to hit at about chest-height, body-checking

rather than grasping their opponents.

As a former international referee, tour manager Allan Hosie is

planning a quiet discussion with New Zealand referees Terry Marshall and

Lindsay McLachlan, who is to be in charge of tomorrow's Test match.

Scots learned the hard lesson in beating a Tongan President's XV by

21-5 here on Wednesday evening. The hits seen and felt that night will

be ample warning for the Test match.

Dixon pinpointed one similarity between 1974 and now in that the

Tongans still support well. All those years ago they did their

backing-up wide out whereas now they play a more orthodox game that

demands close-quarter support.

As they showed on Wednesday, the Tongans favour a game driving close

to the set-piece and second phase. They lay the ball back in the tackle,

and the support sweeps it up to carry on. In that respect it is

significant that two back-row players and the scrum half are among seven

Tongans who remain from Wednesday for tomorrow.

''We defended well,'' Dixon commented on the Scottish performance on

Wednesday, ''but we let them get into us. Our initial contact was too

far back, and I'll be looking for even more commitment in the tackle.''

As a consequence of the big hits on a rock-hard ground on Wednesday,

two Scottish players, Martin Scott and Kenny Milligan, will be on their

way home by the time tomorrow's match kicks off. Rob MacNaughton, who

damaged a shoulder in that game, could not be considered for the Test.

Five of the Test team played on Wednesday. Craig Redpath and Gregor

Townsend broke through from that winning performance, Robb Scott was

called in on the morning of the match after Andy Macdonald had gone down

with flu, whereas Kenny Logan and Jim Hay were needed as replacements.

Tomorrow, however, the Scott/Macdonald roles may be reversed. The latter

was told this morning to stand by for possible call-up as Scott had a

sore throat, the early symptoms of flu.

While Scott and Milligan are on their way out of Fua'amotu Airport

they will probably meet their replacements. Ian Cocoran and Cameron

Glasgow are due to arrive here on the flight that is to take the injured

pair to Auckland on the first leg of their journey home.

Making a more leisurely Pacific tour, three Taiwanese warships sailed

into port this morning. Their arrival awoke late-risers with a 21-gun

salute in honour of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.

Tonga -- I Tapueluelu; A Vasi, T Tu'ineau, M Lavaka, T Va'enuku; E

Vunipola, E Tulikaki; V Moa, F Masila, E Talakai, T Loto'ahea, I Fatani,

F Fakaongo, M Manukia, I Fenukitau.

Scotland -- A C Redpath (Melrose); M Moncrieff (Gala), S A Nichol

(Selkirk), I C Jardine, K M Logan (both Stirling County); G P J Townsend

(Gala), A D Nicol (Dundee HS FP), captain; G R Isaac (Gala), J A Hay

(Hawick), S W Ferguson (Peebles), C A Gray (Nottingham), R Scott (London

Scottish), D J McIvor (Edinburgh Academicals), G W Weir (Melrose), I R

Smith (Gloucester). Replacements -- N J Grecian (London Scottish), D S

Wyllie (Stewart's Melville FP), B W Redpath, C D Hogg (both Melrose), G

D Wilson (Boroughmuir), P M Jones (Gloucester).

Referee -- L McLachlan (New Zealand).