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Junior Japan Overpowers Tonga A

The side finished as runner up af­ter earlier beating Samoa A 31-21 and losing to the Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors 24-66.
17 Mar 2019 11:39
Junior Japan Overpowers Tonga A
Viliame Tuidraki (with ball ) of Junior Japan looks for support against Tonga A during 2019 World Rugby Pacific Challenge final encounter at ANZ Stadium, Suva on March 16, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Junior Japan captain Shota Fukui acknowledged the toughness of Tonga A as his side finished their World Rugby Pacific Challenge campaign with a 39-10 win at the ANZ Stadium in Suva yesterday.

The side finished as runner up af­ter earlier beating Samoa A 31-21 and losing to the Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors 24-66.

What happened: The Japanese side made good on their pledge to play attacking rugby against the Tongans, using their slippery backline players to post a big scoreline.

Junior Japan opened proceed­ings through number 8 Kai Yama­moto, whose try was success­fully converted by first five eighth Rintaro Maryuama.

Maryuama then converted a pen­alty in the 18th minute to extend Junior Japan’s lead to 10-0, before flanker Fukui made it 15-0 four minutes later.

Fijian flyer, Viliame Tuidraki, started at fullback for the Japa­nese side, scoring one try to reg­ister a solid performance after missing the game against the Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors on Tuesday.

The Tongans reduced the deficit after some patient build-up play by their forwards helped lock for­ward Aisea Makasini get over the line to make it 15-5.

Junior Japan hit straight back in the 37th minute through inside centre Tomosoki Osada, who con­verted a quick attack started from deep inside his own half by Tuid­raki.

Maryuama was successful with the conversion.

Halftime: Junior Japan 22-5 Ton­ga A.

The leaders started the second half with the same intensity as the first, with winger Haruto Kida scoring in the 46th minute from a cross-field kick to make it 27-5.

Tonga A came close to scoring in 52nd minute but a dogged Junior Japan defensive unit forced them back.

That defensive effort was reward­ed when Tuidraki made it 32-5 in the 63rd, following up on some strong running by Mayuama to score a poacher’s try in the corner.

Tonga A winger Weir Filikitonga managed a try to make it 32-10 two minutes from fulltime through a quick counter attack after Junior Japan lost the ball deep in the Ton­gan half.

Junior Japan had the last say with a penalty try after the Ton­gans failed to deal with a scrum.

Comments: Junior Japan head coach Yoshitake Mizuma said: “We wanted to play attacking rug­by today and I’m happy the boys did.

“It was a tough and physical game but I’m satisfied with the way the boys kept up the intensity from start to finish.”

Tongan head coach Lotu Filipine said: “Overall I think we could have done better but the work doesn’t stop here.

“We will go back to Tonga now and begin preparing for the Pa­cific Nations Cup.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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