Tonga too good for Japan

2013-05-25 12:11
Japan v Tonga (Getty Images)
Yokohama - Right wing Fetu'u Vainikolo scored two tries to lead Tonga to a 27-17 victory against Japan in the opener of the Pacific Nations Cup tournament on Saturday.

Vainikolo scored the first two tries of the match in the fifth and 12th minutes to give Tonga a 10-0 lead and eventually his side never looked back.

"We knew Japanese rugby is all about speed and fitness and that they would try to run us off our feet," said Tonga captain Nili Latu.

"I am really proud of the boys, especially the way we defended. We knew it was going to be a big challenge given we've only had two days training. The big difference was we really wanted to win."

After flyhalf Fangatapu Apikotoa converted his second try for 12-0, the Japanese pulled one back through hooker Takeshi Kizu's try in the 20th minute.

But Apikotoa added one penalty goal and a conversion of Will Helu's try in the 36th minute to end the first half 22-5.

Japan scored another try through centre Male Sau at the beginning of the second half, but prop Eddie Aholelei cancelled it with a try in the 44th minute before flank Hendrik Tui scored a converted try to complete the scoring in the 63rd minute.

"We played the first half like we had a hangover," said Japan coach Eddie Jones.

"We were still playing like we were playing Asian rugby. Tonga were coming at us in attack and defence and we just sat back. It's a habit we have to get out of," he added.

Defending champions Samoa have opted out of the tournament, but the United States and Canada will debut later on Saturday in Edmonton in the expanded Pacific Nations Cup, which is expected to boost "second tier" nations.

Read more on:    tonga  |  japan  |  pacific nations cup  |  rugby

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