USA vs Tonga Reddit : The U.S.A. hopes to end its Rugby World Cup on a high when it takes on Tonga in the final game of Pool C on Sunday.
Amid the chaos of Typhoon Hagibis, this Pool C game has been given the go-ahead in Higashiosaka City. Both nations have lost all three of their pool games so are unable to reach the knockout stages.
Tonga will be bidding farewell to captain Siale Piutau and no.8 Sione Kalamafoni, who are retiring from international rugby after the World Cup.
USA, meanwhile, will be looking for their first tournament win since 2011 and only their fourth since 1987.
The Eagles have so far lost each of their three games, losing 45-7 to England in their opening match and falling 33-9 to France in their second game. On Wednesday, the Americans racked up a third straight defeat as they were hammered 47-17 by Argentina.
The defeat ended the U.S.’ already slim hopes of finishing third ahead of Los Pumas and earning automatic qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which has been clinched by Argentina instead.
More worryingly for the Americans, it leaves them staring at a second consecutive World Cup without a win for the first time since they failed to win a single game in 1991 and 1999—the Eagles did not qualify in 1995.
Eagles fullback Will Hooley admitted finishing the tournament without a win would be a major step back for the team.
“For us, not winning a game here at the World Cup, we’ll see as a huge negative,” the 25-year-old said in his press conference on Friday.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down, recognize where we went wrong and be better for Sunday.
“We deserve to have a big performance, hopefully with that we can get a result.”
Hooley suffered a concussion against England and missed the game against France, but looked very sharp as he came off the bench against Argentina.
His cameo was rewarded with a starting spot on Sunday and the fullback is one of just three changes U.S. coach Gary Gold has made ahead of the game against Tonga, despite a four-day turnaround.
Along with Hooley, Nick Civetta reclaims his spot in the second row, while openside flanker Malon Al-Jiboori makes his first appearance of the tournament.
Tonga, which is 15th in the world—two spots below the Eagles—is also looking for its first win at this World Cup. The Pacific Islanders lost 35-3 to England and 28-12 against Argentina but earned a losing bonus points against France, giving Les Bleus a major scare as they lost 23-21.
Tonga has won at least one game at each World Cup, with the exception of 1987 and 2011.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of Sunday.
When and where is the game?
The U.S. take on Tonga Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashiosaka City on Sunday, October 13.
Kick-off is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. local time (1:45 a.m. ET).
Located in the Osaka Prefecture on Honshu, the main island of Japan, the stadium has already hosted three games at the tournament.
Italy beat Namibia 47-22 in its opening game on September 22, before Tonga los 28-12 to Argentina six days later and Fiji thrashed Georgia 45-10 earlier this month.
The game will be live both on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold.
NBCSN will broadcast a total of 26 games live throughout the tournament, while all 48 Rugby World Cup games will be broadcast exclusively in the U.S. by NBC Sports Gold. Fans can purchase a single match pass for $29.99, or a Rugby World Cup pass for $199.99.
An all-access premium package, which includes all 48 matches live and on-demand as well as season-long access to Rugby Pass for the 2019-20 season, comes in at $229.99.
Fans can follow the action in several ways. Live streams will be available via NBCSportsGold.com and NBC will broadcast the matches on desktop, mobile tablet and connected devices.
Live streams will also be available via Apple and Android devices, as well as Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
The U.S. and Tonga have met nine times, with the Eagles winning just once and the Pacific Islanders winning the remaining eight games.