Rugby World Cup 2019: United States v Tonga

By Sports Desk October 11, 2019

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu is determined to send retiring captain Siale Piutau out a winner against the United States in a Rugby World Cup contest on Sunday that is still in the hands of the weather.

Typhoon Hagibis has already seen two of Saturday's clashes called off and the Pool C dead rubber at Hanazono Stadium in Osaka will be subject to a late check on the morning of the game.

If it does go ahead as scheduled, Bristol Bears centre Piutau will bow out of the international scene – bar the possibility of "special occasions" – and Kefu paid tribute to his skipper.

"He has been a great servant to the game. When I came in as head coach he was the one I wanted to be captain," Kefu said.

"We would love to put him out with a win. He's been our best player over the four weeks and leads from the front."

Tonga's solitary return from spirited performances against England, Argentina and France is a losing bonus point in a 23-21 defeat against the latter last Sunday.

For Piutau – who, weather permitting, will celebrate his 34th birthday by jointly breaking his country's record for World Cup appearances alongside Sione Kalamafoni – the only focus is helping the team leave Japan with a win to their name.

"I'm not putting the focus on myself, but I want to leave the team on a high – that's my priority. There is no place I would rather be than with these boys," he said.

"It's been a huge honour and privilege and I'm grateful for the opportunities that the red jersey has given me."

USA are also without a victory and will be desperate to prove strides have been taken in what is the first World Cup since the inception of Major League Rugby.

Head coach Gary Gold believes USA can emulate the successes enjoyed by hosts Japan, who are on the cusp of a famous quarter-final berth, if the nation is awarded the 2027 World Cup.

Japan did not a win a match at the 2011 tournament but shocked South Africa en route to becoming the first team to win three pool matches and not reach the last eight four years ago in England.

"For us, [Japan] are an unbelievable role model for so many reasons and I'm talking about the USA particularly," said Gold, who was working in Japan with Kobelco Steelers in 2015.

"This is the reason why I feel so very strongly that if World Rugby genuinely do want to grow the game, as they claim they want to, then USA have to be a contender for the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

"For them to now be quarter-final contenders is a fairy tale come true. 

"It's something that can be done, but it was largely off the back of them having been awarded a Rugby World Cup."



USA – Blaine Scully

USA skipper Scully is set to make an 11th World Cup appearance, a joint-record for his country. Scully is one of two players for USA to have played every minute of this tournament, alongside fellow winger Marcel Brache. 

Tonga – Siale Piutau 

What better way to celebrate a birthday and a landmark showing than with a final World Cup hurrah for one of Tongan rugby's finest servants? The powerhouse centre has led by example throughout the tournament and will be a major threat against USA. 


- This will be the 10th clash between USA and Tonga in Tests, the Eagles won the first encounter in 1999 but Tonga have won the subsequent eight meetings.
- USA and Tonga have met just once before in the World Cup, Tonga prevailing 25-15 when in 2007 in Montpellier.
- The Eagles have won just three of their 28 Rugby World Cup matches so far (L25), losing their last nine on the trot. Their most recent win came against Russia in 2011.
- Tonga have lost their last five World Cup matches, the third time they have endured a losing streak of this length. They have never gone six games without registering a victory.

Related items

  • Ardie Savea wants NRL switch Ardie Savea wants NRL switch

    Hurricanes and New Zealand back-row Ardie Savea has spoken of his desire to play in the NRL and could switch codes as early as next year.

    The 26-year-old is sidelined with a knee injury after undergoing surgery.

    Savea, capped 44 times by the All Blacks, is contracted to New Zealand Rugby until the end of 2021 and pulled out of a deal to join Top 14 side Pau after the Rugby World Cup last year.

    The flanker says a switch to rugby league was on his mind before he was injured during the World Cup.

    Asked if he wants to play in the 13-a-side format, he told the Ice Project podcast: "100 per cent.

    "I just think they [the players] do a lot more in terms of off the field stuff than New Zealand. And also, just a new challenge. I want to test myself.

    “Learning a whole new game and seeing if I can dominate or play the way I play in union and if I can do that in league. That excites me.

    "Seeing guys like Sonny [Bill Willians] do it and the way that has benefited him. It kind of plays on my mind a bit.

    "It sucks that I got this injury because I was low key thinking about it [a code switch] for next year."

    Savea has already given some thought to which team he would fancy joining.

    "Strategically I would want to go to a team that was good or dominating, like the Melbourne Storm or the [Sydney] Roosters." he added.

  • Zebre & Benetton Treviso Pro14 games postponed because of coronavirus Zebre & Benetton Treviso Pro14 games postponed because of coronavirus

    Zebre and Benetton Treviso have each had their Pro14 fixtures for this weekend postponed due to the threat posed by the coronavirus.

    Parma-based club Zebre were due to face Ospreys while Treviso were set to host Ulster.

    However, both fixtures will now have to be rearranged, with restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, known officially as Covid-19, forcing the games to be called off.

    There have been 209 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy, with the death toll officially rising to five on Monday.

    A Pro14 statement read: "Both Guinness PRO14 fixtures set to take place in Italy this weekend have been postponed due to the restrictions enforced by national and local authorities dealing with the threat posed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

    "The current restrictions are in place until Sunday, March 1, 2020 and PRO14 Rugby will remain in contact with the FIR [Italian Union], Zebre Rugby Club, Benetton Rugby and World Rugby to monitor situation on a daily basis."

    Four Serie A football matches were postponed on Sunday, including Inter's clash with Sampdoria.

    Saturday's scheduled Serie B match between Ascoli and Cremonese was postponed and up to 88 amateur football games were also called off.

  • Scarlets and Blues fight back to sink Kings and Treviso Scarlets and Blues fight back to sink Kings and Treviso

    Scarlets turned on the style in the final half hour to avoid an upset against Southern Kings, while Cardiff Blues fought back to defeat Benetton Treviso 34-24 in Pro14 on Sunday.

    After being edged out by Edinburgh last time out, Scarlets found themselves trailing 17-12 to a Kings side with just one win to their name this season.

    However, Ryan Conbeer converted his own try in the 51st minute and further scores from Uzair Cassiem, Dan Jones and Tom Rogers – on his first Pro14 home start – earned a 36-17 win at Parc y Scarlets.

    The Blues were in a perilous position at half-time as tries from Ian Keatley, Irne Herbst and Toa Halafihi helped Treviso into a 19-7 lead – Jason Harries' providing the sole reply from Cardiff.

    Garyn Smith and Ryan Edwards tries – the second of which was converted – levelled things up and, although Halafihi's second briefly put Treviso back ahead, Seb Davies and Lewis Jones crossed and Jason Tovey kicked five more points to seal the points for the Blues.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.