Piutau hopes to celebrate 34th birthday with another Tonga victory party

Captain to break Tonga's World Cup appearance record as improving Sea Eagles change three for USA game.

TOKYO, 11 Oct - "One more special hurrah," is the message from captain Siale Piutau as Tonga look to break their RWC 2019 duck against USA in Hanazono on Sunday.

"He told us to treasure each other’s company, the brotherhood, the culture," said centre Malietoa Hingano, one of 12 survivors from the starting XV that ran France close in Pool C on Sunday. "It’s pretty clear, he said, that we will never play together again."

Coach Toutai Kefu has changed both wingers for the USA game, Viliami Lolohea coming in at No.11 and ‘Atieli Pakalani at 14, replacing Cooper Vuna who drops out of the match-day 23.

Siua Halanukonuka starts at prop, having come off the bench at half-time against France.

Piutau, pictured after Tonga's victory over France at RWC 2011, will celebrate his 34th birthday by breaking his country's World Cup appearance record alongside flanker Sione Kalamafoni. Both will play their 12th RWC games.

"Everyone can see the improvement over the past three weeks," said Kefu. "We’ve improved out of sight and the last couple of games have been lost due to our own fault."

Tonga

1. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi
2. Paula Ngauamo
3. Siua Halanukonuka
4. Sam Lousi
5. Halaleva Fifita
6. Sione Kalamafoni
7. Zane Kapeli
8. Maama Vaipulu
9. Sonatane Takulua
10. James Faiva
11. Viliami Lolohea
12. Siale Piutau (capt.)
13. Malietoa Hingano
14. ‘Atieli Pakalani
15. Telusa Veainu

16. Siua Maile
17. Vunipola Fifita
18. Ma'afu Fia
19. Dan Faleafa
20. Nasi Manu
21. Leon Fukofuka
22. Latiume Fosita
23. David Halaifonua

RNS lm