Tonga beats US to end Rugby World Cup on a high
Tonga gave captain Siale Piutau the parting gift of a first victory of the Rugby World Cup with a 31-19 win over the United States yesterday that left the Eagles pointless at the end of their campaign.
Piutau, who was celebrating his 34th birthday in his 43rd and final test at his third World Cup, scored a try and kicked the last conversion at Hanazono Rugby Stadium as the Tongans finished off their tournament in style.
Tongan prop Siegfried Fisi’ihoi opened the scoring and center Malietoa Hingano crossed to give the Pacific islanders the lead around the hour mark, with fullback Telusa Veainu adding the fourth try after the final gong.
“We’ve been talking all week about playing well and finishing on a high,” said Piutau, who was named man of the match.
“We’ve had some adversity but hopefully we’ve come up with a performance that made our people proud. We came with a mindset to leave it all out there, leave no stones unturned and I think we did that today.”
Replacement Mike Te’o had scored two tries with his first two touches in four first-half minutes to give the United States a 12-7 halftime lead and flanker Tony Lamborn added a try two minutes from time, but the Americans will go home winless.