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Author

Will Carpenter

writes

Posted Sunday, October 13th 2019

Piutau bows out with try in Tonga victory

Siale Piutau bowed out of international rugby with a try and the man of the match award, as Tonga came from behind to beat USA in their final Pool C game and earn their first win of the Rugby World Cup.

Piutau announced his retirement from the international game prior to kick off and capped his departure with a second-half score, before kicking the final conversion to seal a deserved Tonga victory.

Siegfried Fisiihoi opened the scoring, but the USA took control with two tries from replacement winger Mike Te'o.

But Sontane Takulua's penalty reduced the deficit, before Mali Hingano scored a runaway try to put them in front.

Departing captain Piutau sealed victory and Telusa Veainu scored late on, after a Tony Lamborn consolation.

And at the final whistle, Piutau paid tribute to his teammates and his late sister, Emma, who passed away earlier this year.

“We spoke all week about us deserving to play well and to finish on a high,” he said.

“This brought out the boys in the face of adversity and we’ve put in a performance and hopefully we’ve made our people proud.

“It’s an awesome way to cap off an international career. It’s my birthday today, it’s probably the best birthday present that the boys can give me. It’s been a huge honour and a privilege to represent this jersey.”

“It’s been an emotional year for our family. We lost a sister early this year and it’s been a tough journey but all of this for me personally has been done in her memory.”