Thoughts on USA vs. Tonga

So what did you think of the game?

I mentioned the sad score yesterday, sad only in that they lost, not performance-wise.

I had read early yesterday that it was a good effort by the Eagles, within 3 points at one time and nearly scoring again twice. Watching it finally yesterday afternoon a bit, we thought that last run by Zee on the wing was in, he should’ve kept going straight in, he had the support, but oh well.

And like Em said in the comments, our Eagles are putting points on the board. Not sure if they are records at the RWC, but we’re certainly not getting rolled by our opponents. We’re making them work for every meter and score.

So now we wait nearly two weeks for the next game against Samoa. And then South Africa. I’ve got some hope for a strong showing against the Somoans, but South Africa will be tough.

And did you see this article on some of our Eagles’ family ties to Tonga … pretty cool.

Eagles show that family matters
(Rugby News Service) Tuesday 11 September 2007
By Flip Byrnes
From Lyon

September – When the USA take on Tonga on Wednesday, many in the United States side will be lining up against a team sharing the same heritage – and even the same family.

The USA team announced on Monday contains seven players of Pacific Islander descent; two Samoan and five with Tongan ancestry.

The two teams also share familial links.

The Tonga coach, Quddus Fielea, is the uncle of prop Matekitonga Moeakiola, who scored the USA’s try against England on Saturday.

Not that there has been any game plan information passed along. “I try to stay away,” said Moeakiola.

Making two nations proud
Centre Vahafolau Esikia (USA) admits to some reservations about playing Tonga.

“I’m a little nervous playing against my own blood. Even though I am American, part of me is Tongan. I still have a lot of family there,” he said.

And his family are proud of him. Esikia’s grandparents will be sporting the Eagles from their small village in Tonga when they watch the match.

“A month ago they asked me to send all the US gear and they will be wearing it proudly. In Tonga,” said Esikia.

Henry Bloomfield (USA), born in the United States, has found himself fidgeting during motivational talks against the Tongans. “Listening to people talk about Tongans is weird, you take your heritage seriously and proudly,” the number 8 said.

There is no question of his commitment to the shirt, however. “I want to perform the best I can for the USA, because it’s my team and it will make my family back in Tonga proud as well,” he said.

In two further Tongan twists, Esikia and Bloomfield are related, both with family on the island of Valau. Esikia also shares a best friend, Tapu Tonga, with the Tongan centre Nili Latu.

“We’re both best friends with him (Tonga), so he has to be careful not to say anything,” said Esikia.

Bloomfield, Esikia and Moeakiola sometimes speak Tongan with the other players of Islander descent on the USA team, including Salesi Sika, Valenese Malifa, Thretton Palamo and Fifita Mounga.

This language knowledge could also help the USA side when playing the Tongans. “Well, we’ll know what they’re saying,” said Bloomfield.

Also watched part of the Fiji-Japan game, with Fiji edging the Japanese by just 4 points, 35-31. Bruising hits from both sides in this game. We wondered if the Japanese rugby players were some of the biggest guys in their country, since Japan isn’t known for large-statured people. A great match from what I saw.

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Filed under 2007 Men's Rugby World Cup, USA Eagles

4 responses to “Thoughts on USA vs. Tonga

  1. MediaZone

    Heya there Blondie:
    Always enjoy your commentary on one of the best sports under the sun, just wanted to flag a cool company (that I coincidentally also work with) called MediaZone that provides high quality, 24-hour delay On Demand coverage of ALL 48 matches at the RWC, as well as live audio feeds, match previews, halftime and fulltime highlights and Interviews. You can check out this action for FREE for a limited time to watch France vs. Argentina and New Zealand vs. Italy duke it out by going to this site & entering the promo code:, promo code: KEY77GHY.

    As an ardent fan that doesn’t want to miss the action yet is constrained by televised hours, all the details on RWC Plus that is produced in association with MediaZone can be found here: ;. In addition, there’s the MediaZone Rugby channel that offers over 250 rugby matches in 2007-08 such as Tri-Nations, June Tours and Currie Cup. Let me know what you think and here’s to some more salivating clashes in the coming days

  2. With Malice

    Great article Blondie, and the Eagles have come good in leaps & bounds. They are so much improved from just the last time I saw them.
    Time will come when they’ll be beating Tonga… have no fear on that.

  3. With Malice

    And without-a-doubt, the best game thus far has been Japan’s oh-so-close loss to Fiji!

  4. Blondie

    Okay, I’ll leave up the Media zone (quasi-spam) because our readers may actually be interested in watching games that way and Mediazone sends me other nice e-mails.

    However, Simon’s wagga wagga whatever move was pure spam, so it’s dead. Gone. Finito. If you leave a message here, you had better participate in content or provide something WORTHWHILE to all of us. Not just a link to your own blog’s gibberish.

    Thank you! And have a lovely day!

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