Tonga too good for USA
June 8, 2011
Tonga's Viliami Longi evades the USA's Andrew Suniula
© PA Photos
Tonga opened up their Churchill Cup account with a thumping 44-13 victory over the United States.
The South Sea Islanders, making their debut in the competition, ran in five tries with winger Viliami Iongi taking a starring role on his way to four scores with flanker Pasuka Mapakaitolo rounding out the scoring in the final minute. Fly-half Kurt Morath finished with a personal tally of 19 points thanks to five conversions and three penalties.
A first half try from centre Paul Emerick, converted by No.10 Ata Malifa, kept the Eagles in touch at the break after Tongan loose-head Tonga Lea'aetoa had been sin-binned. But the USA were also reduced to 14-men shortly after the break with tight-head Shawn Pittman seeing yellow. Malifa added a second penalty before the end but could not prevent his side slumping to another heavy defeat just four days after their 87-8 mauling at the hands of the England Saxons.
These two last met in the 2007 World Cup when Tonga won 25-15 - but this ranking Test match was far from close. Tonga got off to a dream start when Iongi sped away from the grasping Andrew Suniula and raced away to the line. Morath added the extras to an early penalty to give Tonga a 10-0 lead until Malifa pulled back three points. But Morath restored the 10-point advantage after 21 minutes as the US Eagles' indiscipline again cost them.
Tonga lost Lea'aetoa to the sin-bin for a high tackle and the USA capitalised when Louis Stanfill rampaged downfield, Pittman took the ball on and when the ball was moved left, the experienced Emerick dived over in the corner for Usasz to convert. Scott Lavalla , consolation tryscorer in the defeat by the Saxons, almost got on the scoresheet again but scrum-half Soane Havea got his hand in the way and ball was knocked forward from the second row's grasp to leave Tonga ahead by three points at half-time.
Usasz pulled an early second-half penalty wide across the face of the posts and things got worse for them when Eteuni Siua got away from Cornish Pirates-bound Roland Suniula and put Longi away for his second try. Morath added the extras and then kicked his third penalty for a 23-10 lead when Pittman ended up in the sin-bin for a high tackle on Ilaisa Ma'asi.
The Eagles rallied, prompted by a probing kick from Usasz, but the attack came to nothing and it was Tonga who tightened their grip when Iongi wrapped up his hat-trick. Pepa Koloamatangi took Havea's long pass and fed Iongi with the sweetest of balls for the winger to waltz around Swiryn and race home.
Lavalla went close to the line but was held up short and although referee Roman Poite pulled play back for a penalty it was small beer with a 17-point deficit to claw back in the last 10 minutes. That proved impossible when Iongi finished off his haul before Pasuka Mapakaitolo got his reward for his workhorse effort and touched down.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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