Weather conditions are perfect for a game of rugby. Low wind speeds, low humidity and a cool temperature at 21 degrees celcius. This game is likely to be full of end-to-end, high paced rugby.
These two sides have only met twice before, both within the last six years and both won by Tonga. This is the first World Cup meeting and both sides will be battling hard to avoid the wooden spoon in Pool C.
Today's referee is the extremely experienced Nigel Owens, assisted by Shuhei Kubo and Jerome Garces, with Graham Hughes on TMO duty.
The Tongans have have made 3 changes to the lineup that impressed last Sunday, bringing France close in a narrow 23-21 loss. Halanukonuka comes into the number three jersey in place of Ma'afu Fia. The other two changes see both wingers replaced with Lolohea and Pakalani coming in for Halaifonua and Cooper Vuna.
The Eagles have made 3 changes to the starting side that lost 47-17 to Los Pumas on Wednesday. Nick Civetta and Malon Al-Jiboori come in at lock and flanker respectively, while Will Hooley replaces the experienced Mike Te'o at fullback.
TONGA STARTING XV: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Atieli Pakalani, 13 Malietoa Hingano, 12 Siale Piutau (C), 11 Villiami Lolohea, 10 James Faiva, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Zane Kapeli, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Leva Fifita, 4 Sam Louisi, 3 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 2 Paula Ngauamo, 1 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi. RESERVES: 16 Siua Maile, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Daniel Faleafa, 20 Nasi Manu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Latiume Fosita, 23 David Halaifonua
USA STARTING XV: 15 Will Hooley, 14 Blaine Scully (C), 13 Bryce Campbell, 12 Paul Lasike, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Ruben Haas, 8 Cam Dolan, 7 Malon Al-Jiboori, 6 Tony Lamborn, 5 Nick Civetta, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Titi Lamositele, 2 Joe Taufetee, 1 Eric Fry. RESERVES: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Olive Kilifi, 18 Paul Mullen, 19 Ben Landry, 20 Hanco Germishuys, 21 Ben Pinkelman, 22 Nate Augspurger, 23 Mike Te'o
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of this 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool C clash. We are at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium for today's match between Tonga and USA.
Tonga have laid down the challenge through the Sipi Tau, so it's time to get the match underway. It's James Faiva who kicks off, with a hanging kick toward the USA 22.
Tonga turn it over straight away from the kick off. It's 14 phases of rugby inside the Eagles 22 before Zane Kapeli cleaned out illegally, giving away a relieving penalty to the USA.
A forward pass from the Eagles, just inside their half, gives Tonga a scrum and a promising attacking platform to work from.
Clean ball for Tonga from the back of the scrum allows them to work a set play out wide and carry up to the 22. Vaipulu runs at a defender and frees his hands to get the offload away. Takulua got it and took it close but has knocked it on 5 metres from the Eagles line.
After de Haas' clearance upfield, the ball comes back to the US through Brache, who manages to send a wonderful touch finder, trickling into touch inside the Tongan 22.
The Eagles have it on the Tonga 22 but good defensive pressure causes a loose pass near the right wing falls into a Veainu's hands. He bursts up field and a try seemed imminent but Takulua wasn't given the ball at the right time and the attack was stopped. The Eagles force a penalty for holding on and can clear.
Tonga steal a USA lineout near halfway. A hopeful kick is put through for Pakalani to chase but he sees the ball trickle into touch before he can get there.
Somehow Tonga haven't scored here! It all opened up out wide, with Veainu creating the gap near the line, but a poor offload attempt lands in open space and the Eagles wrap up the ball.
A poor lineout from the USA, but one they'll get away with. A double knock on means Nigel Owens is forced to blow the whistle inside the USA 22. Scrum feed to the Eagles.
TRY! TONGA! FISI'IHOI! 0-5. Tonga have finally made the breakthrough here! The prop started it all off, with some good quick hands near halfway, shifting the ball out wide brilliantly. Lolohea slices his way through the US defence, with not much resistance offered. He carries it up to halfway before he is dragged down around the nipple in a last stitch tackle, just 5 metres from the line. No problem for Tonga though, who keep it tight with the forwards, with the prop who created the chance getting rewarded with the meat pie!
CONVERSION! TONGA! FAIVA! 0-7. No issues for James Faiva with his first kick from right under the sticks.
TRY! USA! TE'O! 5-7. That's a magical try from the US, who have responded instantly! They work it out wide with quick hands, before a beautiful 1 hand pass from Cam Dolan, giving Mike Te'o a clean run to the line.
CONVERSION! USA! MACGINTY! 7-7. AJ Macginty has a simple job to convert the first USA try.
Great counter rucking from USA just outside the Tongan 22 earns them a penalty, as Tonga played the ball on the ground. The Eagles have kicked to the corner.
TRY! USA! TE'O! 12-7. What a turn around! It's two touches for Te'o, and two tries for Te'o. The Americans win the lineout and carry it forward with interest through a few phases. A messy ball forced the US to go to the backline, and as Lolohea stepped infield, he opened up the space out wide. A perfectly looped ball is out of the reach of Lolohea, giving Te'o the opportunity to canter over for the try!
AJ MacGinty is unable to convert the try, pushing a reasonably hard kick to the right of the posts.
Tonga have a scrum deep inside the Eagles 22. Huge chance coming up.
Disappointing for Tonga, who couldn't execute a 2 phase set play, with Takulua knocking the ball on at the base of the ruck.
Compelling play from Tonga but nothing comes of it. Over 10 phases of rugby inside the USA 22 only musters up a good turnover at ruck time which allows the Eagles to clear.
An offside penalty from a kick chase gives Tonga a penalty on the US 40 metre line. They kick to touch and find it around 15 metres from the line.
Oh no! Fisi'ihoi has butchered a sure try! The ball fell fortuitously to Tonga at the lineout, with Takulua breaking right through the centre. He palms it off to the prop who was through for his second, but pressure from de Haas as he looked to dive for the line sees the big man knock the ball on. Brilliant last stitch defence!
De Haas makes a brilliant clearance from the base of the ruck up to almost halfway.
A chance for Tonga from broken play. They make a turnover on halfway and look to shift it to the wing, but a bit of over excitement causes the winger to knock the ball on.
HALF TIME. USA 12 - 7 TONGA. An exciting first half, which will leave the Tongans scratching their heads. They completely dominated both territory and possession but only have the one try to show for it, as they go into the break trailing. The Eagles have been clinical when they've gotten it down to the Tongan 22, but they'll need to offer more in the second half if they're to hold onto this lead.
BOOMFA! A huge hit on Kilifi! He was trying to shift the ball on quickly but the timing is perfect from the Tongan defender, who absolutely smashes him and causes the ball to go forward. Tonga have a scrum on halfway; perhaps one last chance for the first half.
AJ MacGinty gets the 2nd half underway with a kick off into the Tongan 22.
It's a kicking duel here! And victory for the USA via a beaut from Ruben de Haas! 9 kicks exchanged before the American scrumhalf finds touch at the Tongan 5 metre line.
Will Hooley is unable to gather a wayward pass and knocks it on just outside the Tongan 22.
Brilliant break up the blind side by Tonga! They draw the US defence across and then get quick ball to spread it to the other wing. Piutau carries it to around 10 metres from the line but his final pass to the left winger is inaccurate and goes straight into touch. Not clinical enough from Tonga as another try has gone begging.
Tonga do superbly from the maul, forcing the turnover and a scrum inside the US 22.
Poor again from Tonga! This has got to be frustrating but it's great discipline from the USA defence. Massive overlap created out wide, after 12 phases of rugby but Tonga decide to go back inside, and the ball is knocked on. USA clear into touch.
Offside by the USA at the 22 metre line, centre field. Tonga have opted to go for poles, to try get some reward for their hard work.
PENALTY! TONGA! TAKULUA! 12-10. No problem for the scrumhalf who slots the kick through the centre of the sticks.
A bit of a kicking duel ensues once again. It's ended by James Faiva, who has plenty of time and space in his 22, finding touch on halfway.
A delicious chi kick over the top from Hooley finds space. The bounce is awkward with the ball pin balling around but it ends up deflecting into touch of a US player.
TRY! TONGA! HINGANO! 12-15. For the first time in the game, the USA begin to roll through the phases. It's 20 phases! But a knock on 5 metres out and boy is it costly!!! Veainu picks it up and spots acres of space in behind the USA defence! He chases his own kick, which doesn't sit up so he's forced to put a toe on again. It breaks out wide to Pakalani who picks it up cautiously, and then looks inside, putting Malietoa Hingano through the gap for the try!
CONVERSION! TONGA! TAKULUA! 12-17. The scrumhalf adds the extras.
TRY! TONGA! PIUTAU! 12-22. Happy Birthday Siale!! It's a try on his birthday and final test match for the Tongan captain! Created phenomenally by Siegfried Fisi'ihoi for the second time. He picks and goes from a ruck in his own half and slices right through like a hot knife through butter. He holds it up wonderfully for the support to arrive and they set up the ruck inside the US 22. They spread the ball out wide to Piutau, who steps brilliantly inside and through the gap, getting a well deserved try, and extending the Tongan lead!
CONVERSION! TONGA! FAIVA! 12-24. A simple conversion attempt is successful to add the extra 2 points.
An accidental offside ends a promising American attack. Tonga have a defensive scrum about 15 metres from their own line.
Fukofuka slices his kick into touch under absolutely no pressure. Gives the US an attacking lineout on the Tongan 22. Tonga get away with it as the Eagles knock it on at the lineout.
Nigel Owens has overturned his decision, as assistant Wayne Barnes advises him that it was actually a Tongan player who dislodged the ball.
USA rip the ball to turn it over inside the Tonga 22. It was then unplayable, so the US get a put in to a scrum.
Simply sublime from Tonga to turn the ball over. Nick Civetta bumped Faiva off to break the line and get close, but he was then isolated and penalised for holding on.
Bryce Campbell gets the ball in a bit of space out wide but he's tackled into touch by the covering defence.
Loose ball in midfield eventually sees Veainu tackled into touch around halfway.
Ball squirts out the Tonga ruck, and the ball is forced into touch 5 metres from their line. Huge moment for USA who have a massive opportunity to capitalise and score a try.
TRY! USA! LAMBORN! 17-24. Clever work from the blindside flanker! He brings USA right back into the game, dotting the ball against the base of the post for a try!
CONVERSION! USA! MACGINTY! 19-24. No time wasted with the conversion attempt from AJ MacGinty, knocking it straight over.
Fantastic pressure from Tonga on the restart. USA look to play from deep but knock it on inside their 22. Tonga have a scrum, and a phenomenal attacking platform to close out the game.
It's a penalty for Tonga from the scrum, which is in a very kickable position. To the shock of everyone, but the pleasure of the crowd, they've opted against the 3 points, and set the scrum.
TRY! TONGA! VEAINU! 19-29. It's not gone against the Tongans! Clean ball off the back of the scrum, which Fosita drops onto the boot, through the gap. It sits up wonderfully for Veainu who gets a try to sugar coat the Tongan victory!
CONVERSION! TONGA! PIATAU! 19-31. In his final test match, captain Siale Piutau is given the conversion attempt from right in front and he knocks it over! A great end to a great career.
FULL TIME. USA 19 - 31 TONGA. In the end, the right result. A dominant performance from Tonga, who struggled to convert the majority of their chances, but did just enough to keep the USA out when required in the 2nd half, and converted enough of their chances to close out their World Cup campaign with a win!