News24

Tonga fight back to beat US

2012-11-18 09:20

Colwyn Bay - Tonga came from 13-5 down to beat the United States 22-13 in a rugby Test on the north Wales coast on Saturday.

Tonga overcame having two men yellow-carded in the second half to post a fourth straight win over the Eagles. The Tongans also won the first match of their European tour after losing to Italy and English club Newcastle.

Despite a third match in a week, Tonga scored in the first minute through winger Viliami Helu. His opposite number, Luke Hume, then had a try disallowed for a forward pass. Fullback Zach Pangelinan, on debut, gave the Eagles their first points from a penalty.

The US employed effective pick-and-go tactics, and eventually went 10-5 ahead on half-time when scrumhalf Robbie Shaw finished an attack by centres Paul Emerick and Andrew Suniula.

But after Tonga flyhalf Fangatapu Apikotoa was sin-binned for interference and Pangelinan kicked the resulting penalty for 13-5 in the 45th, the Eagles' effort dropped away.

Backup Tonga kicker Vungakoto Lilo began the comeback with a penalty, and Apikotoa returned to convert lock Joseph Tuineau's try from a break by Taniela Moa.

Tonga held the two-point lead comfortably through the last quarter, securing the win four minutes from time when inside centre Sione Piukala took Apikotoa's between-the-legs pass and burst past three defenders to cross. There was enough time left for replacement Alipate Fatafehi to be sin-binned for a high tackle.

AP