OSAKA, 12 Oct –
PIUTAU MAKES FITTING FAREWELL IN TONGA VICTORY OVER USA
Captain scores try and wins Player of the Match award in deserved success for Tonga as USA equal their longest losing run in World Cup games.
HANAZONO, 13 Oct – They are both heading home from Rugby World Cup 2019 now, but it is Tonga who do so with a win to their name after a 31-19 victory against USA on Sunday.
In a match between the Sea Eagles – that’s Tonga – and the Eagles, captain Siale Piutau achieved the result he craved on his 34th birthday in what was his farewell to international rugby. And to put the icing on the birthday cake he scored their third and final try, was named Player of the Match, and even kicked the final conversion in added time.
Both teams had been beaten by England, France and Argentina, and in losing all their pool matches for the second World Cup running the Americans have equalled their worst-ever sequence of 10 successive defeats in the tournament.
The Pacific Islanders were themselves trying to avoid a record sixth straight loss, and after coming so close against the French last weekend they thoroughly deserved the win.
With Osaka, Japan’s second largest city, only on the fringes of the devastating Typhoon Hagibis the match was given the go-ahead after an early-morning inspection of the venue and associated infrastructure.
Conditions were fine underfoot despite Saturday’s heavy rain, and a stiff wind was the only real issue come kick-off time at the 24,000-capacity stadium, the oldest dedicated rugby ground in the country. There was a minute’s silence for those who lost their lives in the typhoon.
Tonga had most of the early play and came close when full-back Telusa Veainu broke through only for his pass to go behind the two men waiting outside him.
Their pressure finally paid off after 16 minutes when prop Siegfried Fisiihoi barged over to give them a lead for the first time in the tournament. Sonatane Takalua converted.
The USA soon lost captain Blaine Scully and prop Eric Fry, but seconds after coming on Scully’s replacement Mike Te’o broke through the covering defence and fly-half AJ MacGinty added the extra points to level the scores.
Five minutes later Te’o was over again. A long pass after a lineout left him with a clear run, but MacGinty’s missed conversion left it at 12-7.
Fisiihoi was almost celebrating his second try after 34 minutes, but after taking the pass from Takalua he dropped the ball when tackled inches short of the line.
Veainu should have set up a try after 45 minutes, but in a clear two-on-one he passed too far in front of winger Viliami Lolohea and the ball went out.
It was nearly all Tonga at this point, with the Americans already having made more than 100 tackles, and a Takalua penalty five minutes later reduced the gap to two points.
The Eagles did manage to take play down the other end, but it led to the Pacific Islanders’ second try. A knock-on gave Veainu the opportunity to kick downfield. He won the race to the ball and found winger Atieli Pakalani, who had centre Malietoa Hingano inside him, to score from 25 metres out.
Takalua’s last involvement was the conversion for 17-12, but he was soon able to cheer from the sidelines as Piutau went through a gaping hole in the defence for a try, pictured above, that was celebrated with much emotion.
With James Faiva’s conversion it was suddenly 24-12 with 17 minutes left and although USA flanker Tony Lamborn scored at the base of the posts with three minutes remaining, Veainu added the bonus-point fourth try in stoppage time and Piutau was allowed to take the conversion.
Rugby World Cup Pool C
Match #38 – FULL TIME
UNITED STATES 🇺🇸 1️⃣9️⃣ vs 3️⃣1️⃣ 🇹🇴 TONGA
🇺🇸 UNITED STATES: 1️⃣9️⃣
Tries: Mike Te’o (20′)(25′), Tony Lamborn (77′)
Cons: AJ MacGinty (21′, 77′)
🇹🇴 TONGA : 3️⃣1️⃣
Tries: Siegfried Fisi’ihoi (16′), Mali Hingano (57′), Siale Piutau (61′), Telusa Veainu (80′)
Cons: Tane Takulua (18′)(59′), James Faiva (63′), Siale Piutau (80′)
Pens: Tane Takulua (50′)
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RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED
USA (on 70.33 points) -vs- TON (on 69.22 points) in a RWC match
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|USA win by 1-15 points||1.778||72.11||67.44||No|
|USA win by more than 15||2.667||73.00||66.55||No|
|result is a draw||0.222||70.11||69.44||No|
|TON win by 1-15 points||2.222||68.11||71.44||Yes|
|TON win by more than 15||3.333||67.00||72.55||Yes|
🇺🇸 UNITED STATES
1 Eric Fry, 2 Joe Taufete’e, 3 Titi Lamositele, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Nick Civetta, 6 Tony Lamborn, 7 Malon Al-Jiboori, 8 Cam Dolan, 9 Ruben de Haas, 10 AJ MacGinty, 11 Marcel Brache, 12 Paul Lasike, 13 Bryce Campbell, 14 Blaine Scully (capt.), 15 Will Hooley
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Olive Kilifi, 18 Paul Mullen, 19 Ben Landry, 20 Hanco Germishuys, 21 Ben Pinkelman, 22 Nate Augspurger, 23 Mike Te’o
1 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 2 Paula Ngauamo, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 4 Sam Lousi, 5 Leva Fifita, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Zane Kapeli, 8 Ma’ama Vaipulu, 9 Tane Takulua, 10 James Faiva, 11 Viliami Lolohea, 12 Siale Piutau (capt.), 13 Mali Hingano, 14 Afa Pakalani, 15 Telusa Veainu
Replacements: 16 Siua Maile, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Nasi Manu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Latiume Fosita, 23 David Halaifonua
Date: Sunday, October 13
Venue: Hanazono Stadium, Osaka
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistants: Jérôme Garcès (France) & Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)