Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Japan upset Tonga on the weekend as they earned a hard fought 28-27 win in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup in Suva, Fiji. The win sees them climb two places in the IRB Rankings, up to thirteenth.
John Kirwans team will meet Tonga in Pool A of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, so a win over them in Suva will have given them a nice boost in confidence. Theyve also thrown the PNC wide open, as did Fiji with their win over Samoa, which means that all four sides go into Wednesdays match with a win apiece.
The match itself was fairly scrappy at times, with somewhat of a forward battle taking place and a few of the tries being ground out, rather than coming from fluid play. Japan worked hard on defence though, and did well to hold out a tired looking Tongan side in the last ten minutes.
"Tonga is the most improved side in the tournament so far and got a good win against Fiji last week," said Japan coach John Kirwan.
"We knew that this was a big game for us. I am really happy with the courage our boys showed. The Japanese style of rugby is running around. I am very pleased what the players showed."
Despite the loss, Tonga still lead the tournament on six points going into the final round of fixtures. The other three teams are on five, so all three teams have a chance of winning it. Tonga face Samoa, while Fiji play Japan.