Tonga captain Siale Piutau was happy to see his international career finish on a high after the 31-19 win over the United States in Hanazono.
Piutau got the third of four Tongan tries as they secured a bonus-point victory over the Eagles to secure fourth place in Pool C.
Piutau said: “We spoke all week about us deserving to play well and to finish on a high.
“This brought out the boys in the face of adversity and we’ve put in a performance and hopefully we’ve made our people proud.
“It’s an awesome way to cap off an international career. It’s my birthday today, it’s probably the best birthday present that the boys can give me. It’s been a huge honour and a privilege to represent this jersey.”
“It’s been an emotional year for our family. We lost a sister early this year and it’s been a tough journey but all of this for me personally has been done in her memory.”
Head coach Toutai Kefu praised his captain: “Oh, he’s been a great servant for his country. If you’re looking at a leader, and what you want from a leader, this guy next to me is what it represents. On and off the field he’s been fantastic, humble, respectful and all the guys will follow him.”
“It was a bit of a grand final for both teams and we definitely wanted to finish the campaign on a positive note. Today’s game was a bit up and down but we got there in the end.”
USA coach Gary Gold felt his side will take some positives away from the tournament.
He said: “We played some really good teams in this Rugby World Cup.
“It’s been excellent, I think after the disappointment has died down we’ll reflect and we’ll have learned a lot of lessons.”
RugbyPass went behind the scenes with the Tonga national team as they prepare for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
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