Rugby World Cup: Tonga leave USA pointless after second half blitz
Three second half tries turned it around in Hanazono
Tonga’s Malietoa Hingano is dives in for a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool C game at Hanazono Rugby Stadium. Photo: AP
Tonga 31 USA 19
Tonga came from behind at half-time to secure a 31-19 win over the United States and avoid finishing bottom of Rugby World Cup Pool C.
A pair of tries from replacement Mike Teo saw the Eagles take a 12-7 lead into the interval but scores after the break from Malietoa Hingano, Siale Piutau and Telusa Veainu ensured Tonga ended their competition on a high.
It was Tonga who opened the scoring through a Siegfried Fisi’ihoi try after 16 minutes as their early pressure told. Winger Viliami Lolohea broke clear and when he was hauled down metres from the line, Fisi’ihoi picked up to go over.
But the USA rallied with two tries in the space of five minutes from Teo. Cam Dolan flicked the ball out the back of his hand to Teo in space and the winger ran in under posts before the ball was worked wide for Teo to finish in the corner.
Tonga took the lead after 61 minutes when Veainu chipped over the top, chased his own kick and hacked the ball on for Lolohea, who fed Hingano to score.
Just four minutes later Tonga extended their advantage with their third try. Sione Kalamafoni took the ball on from Fisi’ihoi after he broke clear and the ball was spread left for captain Piutau to skip over.
Tony Lamborn burrowed over from close range as the USA hit back but Tonga secured the bonus point with their fourth try right on the whistle when Veainu latched onto James Faiva’s kick and touched down.