Two tries from Telusa Veainu wasn’t enough to help Tonga overcome Argentina in their Pool C fixture during the second week of the Rugby World Cup in Japan on Saturday morning (UK time).
Veainu was making his first appearance of the tournament after missing Tonga’s opening match against England.
His return saw him join his Leicester club-mate Sione Kalamafoni in action, with the pair facing up to a future Tiger in Tomas Lavanini for the Argentinian’s.
The Los Pumas burst out of the blocks at Hanazono Rugby Stadium, scoring four tries to register a bonus-point in 25 minutes against their Southern Hemisphere counterparts.
However, trailing 28-0 and approaching the half hour mark, the Tongans crossed for their first try of the match through Veainu after the ball was shifted quickly to the Tigers fullback who stepped his way through the Argentine defence to diver over.
Sonatane Takulua converted to see the Pascific Islanders trail 28-7, which is where the score remained until the half time break.
The crowd would wait 25 minutes in to the second-half for the next points of the match, when Veainu had his second after defying physics to get the ball down in the corner after a flick pass for the ages from team-mate Cooper Vuna.
Veainu’s impressive effort to score in the corner meant the difference was 16 points, which is where it would remain until full-time.
Lavanini will next come up against future Tigers team-mates Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Jonny May, Dan Cole and Ellis Genge when Argentina take on England on October 5.
Meanwhile, Veainu and Kalamafoni face France the following day in Kumamoto City.