Tonga makes three changes for U.S. clash


Coach Toutai Kefu on Friday made three changes to his starting lineup as Tonga seeks to end its Rugby World Cup with a win.

Tighthead prop Siua Halanukonuka and wings Viliami Lolohea and ‘Ateli Pakalani are into the team against the United States in Osaka on Sunday.

Flanker Sione Kalamafoni and captain Siale Piutau will also set a new Tonga record by appearing in their 12th Rugby World Cup games.

Tonga has lost to England, Argentina and France in Pool C. The United States is also winless in three games in Japan.

Tonga and the U.S. last met in 2016, a 20-17 win for Tonga. Tonga has won eight of their nine meetings.

In other news announced on Friday, flanker Justin Tipuric will captain Wales for the first time in a starting lineup with 13 changes for their last pool match against Uruguay on Sunday in Kumamoto.

A cleanout was expected with the match just four days after Wales edged Fiji 29-17 in Oita to advance to the quarterfinals.

Only inside center Hadleigh Parkes and Josh Adams, swapped from the left to the right wing, start again. Adams scored three tries against Fiji.

Unbeaten Wales likely needs to beat Uruguay to win Pool D ahead of Australia.

With Dan Biggar unavailable after a head knock, Wales picked scrumhalves Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies as cover for the entire backline.

Elsewhere, New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock has sympathized with Italy captain Sergio Parisse blasting Rugby World Cup organizers for their pool match being cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis without a backup plan.

Parisse believed Italy was disrespected, and their match in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, scheduled for Saturday when the typhoon should hit, would not have been cancelled if the defending champion All Blacks needed the points to reach the quarterfinals.