2019 Rugby World Cup: USA vs Tonga Preview

The USA and Tonga meet on 13 October at Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka Prefecture, Higashiosaka City and are seeking their first win at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Kickoff is at 14:45 local time (01:45 ET) In the U.S, the match may be viewed on NBC Sports Network or on-demand on NBC Sports Gold and on TSN 1 and 4 in Canada.

Typhoon Hagibis, whose path will impact the center of Japan is expected on Saturday. A matchday decision will be made whether the match will be played.

The Saturday match between England and France was canceled due to Typhoon Hagibus which resulted in a draw. This had England winning the Pool with 17 points, France in second with 15, Argentina with 11, Tonga with 1, and the USA with zero. It still raises issues affecting quarterfinal matches with Pool D. Had France won against England the quarterfinal pairing would have been reversed, or even could have included a match against Italy.

The cancellation of the Saturday match between New Zealand and Italy, left Italy without a chance to potentially advance to the quarterfinals had the team upset the All Blacks. Instead both Wales and Australia will advance with Wales topping the Pool should it win against Uruguay this Sunday.

The USA opened the Rugby World Cup with a 45-7 loss to England, a 33-9 loss to France, and a 47-17 loss to Argentina.

Tonga also is 0-3 losing to England 35-3, to Argentina 28-12, and to France 23-21.


USA coach Gary Gold has made two changes to his starting XV for the Pool C match against Tonga, despite the four-day turnaround from the defeat by Argentina.

Nick Civetta returns at lock and Malon Al-Jiboori will start at openside flanker in his Rugby World Cup debut. Scrum-half Ruben de Haas retains his place after a good performance on his 21st birthday.

If hooker James Hilterbrandenters the match from the bench, he will be the 31st and final member of the USA squad to play at RWC 2019.


Tonga has made three changes their narrow loss to France last Sunday. These include wings Atieli Pakalani and Viliami Lolohea, while prop Siosiua Halanukonuka makes his first start of RWC 2019.

Tonga captain Siale Piutau has his 34th birthday on Sunday on his final appearance for his country.

Center Piutau and flanker Sione Kalamafoni are also retiring from international play and could make a record 12th Rugby World Cup appearance for the Sea Eagles against USA..

Piutau plans to keep playing for Bristol Bears in the English Premiership, while Kalamafoni playes for Leicester Tigers.


USA: 1. Eric Fry 2. Joe Taufete’e 3. Titi Lamositele 4. Greg Peterson 5. Nick Civetta 6. Tony Lamborn 7. Malon Al-Jiboori 8. Cam Dolan 9. Ruben de Haas 10. AJ MacGinty 11. Marcel Brache 12. Paul Lasike 13. Bryce Campbell 14. Blaine Scully (capt.) 15. Will Hooley 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

Tonga:1 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 2 Paula Ngauamo, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 4 Sam Lousi, 5 Leva Fifita, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Zane Kapeli, 8 Ma’ama Vaipulu, 9 Tane Takulua, 10 James Faiva, 11 Viliami Lolohea, 12 Siale Piutau (capt.), 13 Mali Hingano, 14 Afa Pakalani, 15 Telusa Veainu16 Siua Maile, 17 Vunipola Fifita, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Nasi Manu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Latiume Fosita, 23 David Halaifonua

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France) & Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant