Fiji defeat defending champs Japan
Tue, 05 Jun 2012 15:41
Fiji beat defending champions Japan 25-19 to hand new Brave Blossoms coach Eddie Jones his first defeat at the Pacific Nations Cup on Tuesday.
Fullback Ayumu Goromaru scored three penalties to give Japan a 9-0 lead in the first 20 minutes before the Flying Fijians swiftly fought back with centre Aisake Katonibau and Waisea Nayacalevu scoring two consecutive tries.
Katonibau made the most of a turnover and some poor defence to cross for a try soon after Goromaru's third penalty, while Nayacalevu eluded a Japanese tackle to add another with flyhalf Setareki Koroilagilagi cashing in both to end the first half 14-9.
Koroilagilagi added two more penalties in the second half, and the visitors scored a decisive third try when a superb catch and run by Waitisoni Votu and some quick hands at pace put winger Vereniki Goneva away in the 62nd minute to make it 25-12.
Japan needed to score to stay in the game and the forwards responded with a superb driving maul that resulted in a penalty try as the Fijians tried to stop it illegally.
Goromaru added the conversion and there were just six points between the teams, but Japan continued to make unforced errors and they were unable to close the gap.
In the other match of the day Samoan scrumhalf Galuefa Falamoe scored a try early in the second half to lead his team to a 20-18 win over Tonga in the opener of the Pacific Nations Cup.
Samoan flyhalf Ki Anufe kicked two penalties, while Tonga's Kurt Morath had three as Tonga led 9-6 at half-time.
The Samoans got off to a flying start after the break with Falamoe scoring a try only two minutes into the second half to take the lead 11-9. Anufe made it 13-9 with a conversion.
Morath closed the gap to only one point with another penalty two minutes later but skipper David Lemi consolidated Samoa's lead with a try in the 49th minute for 18-12 and Anufe completed the scoring with a conversion.
Morath, who added two more penalties, had a chance to catch up with Samoa towards the end of the second half, but his attempts at a penalty and a drop-goal went wide.
Fiji 25-19 Japan
Try: Penalty try
Cons: Ayumu Goromaru
Pens: Goromaru 4
Tries: Aisake Katonibau, Waisea Nayacalevu, Vereniki Goneva
Cons: Setareki Koroilagilagi 2
Pens: Koroilagilagi 2
Samoa 20-18 Tonga
Tries: Galuefa Falamoe, David Lemi
Cons: Ki Anufe 2
Pens: Anufe 2
Pens: Kurt Morath 6
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