Rugby | Wins for Tonga, Wales and Japan

The pool stages of the 2019 Rugby World Cup are officially over.

Typhoon Hagibis wreaked havoc with the fixture list, with several games cancelled due to the extreme weather, but there was still plenty of action over the weekend.

On Saturday, Ireland ended their group campaign with a bonus-point win over Samoa.

Sunday’s action included wins for Tonga, Wales and hosts Japan.

Tonga end tournament with first win

Tonga saved their best for last in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, beating the USA 31-19 to pick up their first win in Japan.

The Pacific islanders claimed four tries in their victory over their Pool C rivals at Hanazono Rugby Stadium to ensure the Eagles left Japan without a single point.

Tonga’s Siegfried Fisiihoi scored the game’s first try in the 16th minute, powering over the line after a brilliant break from winger Viliami Lolohea.

Tane Takulua converted to give his side a 7-0 lead.

USA substitute Mike Te’o registered the Eagles’ first try in the 20th minute, crossing on the right after a wonderful offload from Cam Dolan.

AJ MacGinty converted, before Te’o doubled his tally in the 25th minute, running on to Will Hooley’s pass to make it 12-7 to the USA at the interval.

Tane Takulua’s 50th-minute penalty reduced the deficit to two points, and Tonga reclaimed the lead seven minutes later.

Malietoa Hingano pounced on a loose ball to score Tonga’s third try, with Takulua adding to their lead with an accurate conversion.

Tonga captain Siale Piutau recorded try number four just after the hour mark, the 34-year-old crossing the line on his birthday, and in his last ever World Cup game.

James Faiva converted to make it double scores at 24-12.

Tony Lamborn grounded the ball at the butt of the post after intense USA pressure to give the Eagles a lifeline, with McGinty duly splitting the posts with another conversion.

Telusa Veainu crossed the whitewash for Tonga’s fifth try in the 80th minute, and fittingly, it was the skipper Piutau who kicked the subsequent conversion with the last action of the game.

Tonga finish fourth in Pool C on four points, while the USA go home pointless.

Wales claim unconvincing win over Uruguay

Wales set up a quarter-final meeting with France with a 35-13 win over Uruguay.

The five-try bonus-point win at Umakana Yokana Stadium means Warren Gatland’s men top Pool D ahead of second-placed Australia.

Wales remain unbeaten in the tournament, and end the group stages with their best pool record since 1987.

Uruguay gave the Six Nations champions – who admittedly fielded an experimental team – a tough game, and Wales’ display was largely sloppy and laboured.

After relentless pressure in the Uruguay half, Nicky Smith opened the scoring with a try in the 17th minute, which Leigh Halfpenny converted.

They were to be Wales’ only scores of the half, and Uruguay reduced the deficit to a point before half time, with Felipe Berchesi scoring two penalties in a largely uneventful opening 40 minutes.

Josh Adams scored Wales’ second try eight minutes into the second half, with Halfpenny adding two more points from the conversion.

Uruguay lost flanker Santiago Civetta to the sin bin as Wales increased their pressure heading into the final quarter, and the Europeans were awarded a penalty try in the 65th minute.

German Kessler bagged the South Americans’ second try in the 70th minute, with Berchesi nailing the conversion.

Wales had time for two more converted tries, with Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies crossing the try-line in the closing stages.

The Welsh finish top of Pool D, with Uruguay finishing bottom.

Japan stay perfect with thrilling win over Scotland

Japan maintained their 100% record in the tournament with a 28-21 win over Scotland in Pool A.

The host nation now top the group ahead of Ireland, and will face South Africa in the last eight, condemning Joe Schmidt’s men to a clash with New Zealand.

Japan produced more wonderful rugby and entertainment on their way to securing a place in the knockout stages for the first time in their history, in a do-or-die affair which is a strong contender for match of the tournament.

Scotland entered the game at Nissan Stadium knowing only an eight-point win or more could keep their World Cup campaign alive, and Gregor Townsend’s men made the perfect start.

Finn Russell darted through to score a seventh-minute try after good Scotland pressure deep in the hosts’ half.

Greg Laidlaw landed the subsequent conversion to make it 7-0 and give Scottish fans around the world hope.

The Brave Blossoms hit back with a superb try in the 17th minute, with Kotaro Matsushima crossing the whitewash after great passes from Timothy Lafaele and Kenki Fukuoka.

Yu Tamura drew them level from the conversion, and Scotland had no answer for Japan’s inventive and devastating attacking play for the rest of the half.

Jamie Joseph’s men notched their second try in the 25th minute, following another great break from Matsushima. William Tupou’s excellent offload allowed Keita Inagaki to dive over the line to give Japan the lead.

Tamura’s conversion made it 14-7, and Japan extended their lead further just before the interval.

Fukuoka plundered try number three a minute before the half time whistle, racing on to Lafaele’s kick to touch down in the corner. Tamura’s third conversion of the half made it 21-7.

After a slow start, it was a delightful display of high-octane, attacking rugby from Jones’ side, whose half time tally of 21 points was their highest ever in the opening 40 minutes of a World Cup game.

Japan seized their fourth try – claiming a bonus point in the process – just three minutes after the restart.

Fukuoka wrenched possession from a Scottish player, and showed great pace to sprint clear of the dark blue jerseys giving chase, extending Japan’s lead to 26-7.

Tamura kept his cool from the conversion to add two more valuable points.

Scotland, however, were in no mood to lie down and accept their fate.

Townsend’s men scored their second try in the 49th minute when Willem Nel bundling over from close range after a good break from a determined Jamie Ritchie.

Laidlaw converted to make it 28-14.

Scotland threw everything they had at Japan in the final quarter, but the Brave Blossoms held on to make the last eight for the first time in their history, and the first Tier 2 team to do so since Fiji 12 years ago.

What a story, what a team.