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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pacific Nations Cup 2011 wrap-up - Japan victorious

Pacific Nations Cup 2011 wrap-up - Japan victorious

Last week the Pacific Nations Cup came to an exciting conclusion as Japan scored an injury time try against Fiji to secure their first ever title win. Here's a quick wrap-up of what happened in the last two games.

Japan needed to beat Fiji with a bonus point to make sure they had a chance of winning the tournament, and things weren't looking good at halftime as Fiji led the game. The home side had a lapse in discipline though and ended the match with 12 players on the field, allowing Japan to score a late try and pick up a 24-13 bonus point win.

Fiji had three yellow cards and two reds, and have since had two players suspended.

"It was Fiji's indiscipline that helped us in the win," said Japan coach John Kirwan. "However, I salute my players for the effort and they did what I asked them at the break. Now it is the World Cup and there is still a lot of work to be done."

In the other match, Tonga would have felt they were in the driving seat as they beat Samoa 29-19. Chiefs prop Sona Taumalolo scored a brilliant individual effort, which you can see here. They were probably the best side in the tournament as they had earlier beaten Fiji, had the best points differential, and the strongest defense.

The late Japan try meant that they went equal with Tonga on ten points, so the outcome of the tournament was determined by the top two's previous encounter, which Japan won 28-27.

Fiji will now need to lift themselves for their big meeting with the All Blacks this Friday evening.


Time: 01:18

Posted at 9:36 am | 17 comments

Viewing 17 comments

Anonymous July 19, 2011 8:52 am

First! Good to see Japan developping!

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moddeur July 19, 2011 8:59 am

First! (in Central European Time)
I wish I could see the plays that got 3 Fiji player sent off. Japan is surely a very deserving team, but it's hard to evaluate a team that's playing at 15 vs 14/13/12 during the better part of a match.

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Anonymous July 19, 2011 9:15 am

....after being reduced to 12! that's just crazy.

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Anonymous July 19, 2011 9:15 am

You can see the hits on youtube if you look.
They were dangerous, but I don't know if Fiji deserved as many cards as they got.

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Anonymous July 19, 2011 10:59 am

Awesome stepping by the big prop at the start

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Anonymous July 19, 2011 11:05 am

@^^^ I thought it as a no 7, he's just smaller and chunkier. All the same though, the finishing was something a wing would be proud of.

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Anonymous July 19, 2011 11:07 am

*was

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I hate people who wr July 19, 2011 11:23 am

I am a douche bag

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The Green Mafia July 19, 2011 11:57 am

Congratulations to Japan for the win! Its really good for rugby to see smaller unions improve like this, and Japan has really come through in the last few years.

Tough luck on Fiji, their indiscipline cost them.

That being said, the referee (Jonker, I think) had a shocker. First yellow card (on waqaniburotu, fiji n6) wasn't even a card. Simple case of a hit so hard the carrier bounces back and tackler can't wrap the arms. The first red (to Koyamaibole, fiji n8) was a card, but a yellow. A later arm around the neck of a fijian by japanese n8 was punished with a simple penalty. Also, japan got away with murder in the breakdown, frequently the tackler not releasing, preventing the carrier to put the ball back, ultimatelly resulting in fiji getting pinged for holding the ball. Also, 3 advantages for Fiji the whole game, and 10349876543975634985 for Japan. In the third try, Japan gets 7-10 meters across the advantage line, ends up spilling the ball forward and gets a "no advantage" call by Jonker and gets a do-over, 10 meters from Fiji's line.

Not justifying Fiji's defeat, it was their fault they gave away most of their huge amount of penalties, and Japan played with real tenacity and discipline to ultimatelly come with away with the win. Just saying that in a test where a team like Fiji has a real fisical style of play that is based on exploring the difference in size between the teams, a referee like that can really hurt a side, by hampering their fisical game with such harsh and sometimes unfair calls.

My two cents (which are probably wrong. second rowers take too many knocks to the head, and that explains a lot)

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RedYeti July 19, 2011 12:07 pm

Found full highlights of the final here if anyone's interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhE5cBFankU

Not sure Rabeni deserved a red card for his high shot, but there did seem to be an awful lot of the dirty play that's earned the islanders their unwanted reputation...

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Anonymous July 19, 2011 12:19 pm

Playing the ref is part of the game at this high level, I reckon the Fijian coach ought to have cautioned them about their approach towards the ref.

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Darren July 19, 2011 2:27 pm

I dunno why but every time a ref has a bad game, people think it's Jonker. And he's actually a good ref. The referee here is actually George Clancy from Limerick. Not terribly bad, an up and comer, may get a semi final at this years world cup.

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Reality July 19, 2011 3:06 pm

Darren, if you're going to correct something, don't do it with information that's wrong. The referee is Peter Fitzgibbon, not George Clancy like you said. Clancy is tall and thin and has a full head of hair. He really could not be less like Fitzgibbon.

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The Green Mafia July 19, 2011 3:15 pm

Also, Marius Jonker was the assistant referee, and he adviced the referee to give both the cards I posted about. As for the ref, the up and commer, god forbid he gets his hands on a wc semi, or the breakdown will be a joke. Again

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Anonymous July 19, 2011 4:52 pm

After watching the full highlights of the game it is fair to say that the red cards were 'deserved' for Fiji...seems they'll never learn, sad.

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Anonymous July 19, 2011 10:09 pm

I love how people bitch about clancy at the breakdown.. . they just want mccaw to get away with murder at the breakdown...

they know if clancy is there the breakdown will be reffed properly and the mccaw may ACTUALLY stand a chance at getting sent off.

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