OSAKA – Tonga gave captain Siale Piutau a parting gift of a first victory of the Rugby World Cup with a 31-19 win over the United States on Sunday 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 centre 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.
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.
For much of the 80 minutes it was easy to remember that these were two teams that had failed to secure a victory between them in six previous matches, albeit in a tough Pool C that also include England, France and Argentina.