Tonga beat USA to end on a high

AFP

HANAZONO (Japan): Tonga enjoyed a final flourish at the Rugby World Cup as they beat the United States 31-19 to maintain their 20-year dominance over the Eagles yesterday.

The Pacific side fumbled a series of chances and weathered a late fightback before completing their first victory of the tournament in a tough Pool C.

Captain Siale Piutau, playing his last Test, was among the scorers as Tonga brought up their ninth straight win over America since they lost their first meeting in 1999.

Tonga’s centre Siale Piutau (centre) is tackled during the Pool C match against the United States. Photo: AFP

Tonga dominated territory and possession in the first half but they were 12-7 down at the break after poor decisions and handling errors denied them a series of tries.

James Faiva fended off two defenders in a typically adventurous break to create Tonga’s opening score on 16 minutes, setting up prop forward Siegfried Fisi’ihoi who barrelled over from a maul.

But the USA hit back with two tries in five minutes from replacement fullback Mike Te’o, who stepped in smartly from the wing for his first and then found himself in oceans of space for his second. – AFP

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