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Junior Japan Triumph

Junior Japan Triumph
Junior Japan's Number 8, Tevita Tatafu goes in for their final try against Tonga A during 2018 World Rugby Pacific Challenge at ANZ Stadium on March 9, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
March 10
11:00 2018

Junior Japan fought back in the second half to beat Tonga A 46-28 in the first round of the World Rugby Pacific Challenge at the ANZ Stadium, Suva yester­day.

What happened: Junior Japan started well when No.8 Tevita Tatafu scored the first try with the conversion from Yuto Mori going wide.

The Tongans regrouped and struck back with a try to Puniani Malafu with James Faiva adding the extras. With a 7-5 lead, the Ton­gans were aggressive in the break­down areas and set pieces which resulted in halfback Sosaia Tokai’s try which was converted by Faiva.

Tonga further extended their lead through Tuhakavalu Ika’s try and Faiva was again on target with the conversion. Japan then clawed their way back when they scored their second try to halfback Shino­bu Fujiwaqa which was converted by Mori.

Halftime: Tongans 21-12 Junior Japan.

The Japanese forwards got into motion as they pushed the Ton­gans back and this led to their third try scored by hooker Hinata Takei with Mori converting. Trail­ing 21-19 and sensing victory, the Japanese continued on the momen­tum with Siosaia Fifita going over to score with the conversion going wide.

Poor defence by the Tongans allowed Tevita Tatafu to score again with Mori’s conversion go­ing over. Tonga fought back and scored their fourth try through substitute Paula Folau which was converted by Faiva.

That did not deter the Japa­nese as they continue to fight on which resulted in Makisi Faulua diving over for their sixth try, which was converted. The win was sealed with Tatafu’s third try try.

Big Play: Tatafu played an in­strumental role in their forward moves. He was sound in defence and scrummed well.

Comments: Junior Japan head coach Satoru Endo said: “Our start was not really good but we came out aggressively in the second half.

“The message at halftime was for the players to empty the tank.”

Tonga A head coach Isi Fatani said: “We managed to control our game in the first half but lost con­trol in the second half.”


Junior Japan 45- Tries: Tevita Tatafu (3), Shinobu Fujiwaqa, Hi­nata Takei, Siosaia Fifita, Makisi Faulua. Conversions: Yuto Mori (5)

Tonga A 28- Tries: Puniani Mala­fu, Sosaia Tokai, Young Pongi. Con­versions: James Faiva (4).

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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