Samoa surge to beat Japan in PNC

A late four-try surge gave Samoa a 34-15 win over Japan in their Pacific Nations Cup rugby international on Thursday.

Japan led 15-12 midway through the second spell but Samoa’s greater size and experience saw them run out six-tries-to-two winners in the second round of the competition.

Following up from a narrow 17-16 loss to the Junior All Blacks, the Pacific islands side Samoa outmuscled Japan, who were playing their first match in this year’s tournament.

Japan, who dominated territory until well into the second half, were undone by handling and tactical errors.

They were unable to turn their dominance in possession in the first spell into a lead, going into the break with Samoa 12-3 ahead.

Both Samoa’s tries underlined the power of their pack.

Referee Nathan Pearce awarded Samoa a penalty try after 23 minutes when Japan illegally disrupted a drive towards the line from a five-metre scrum and outside centre Gavin Williams added the conversion from in front.

Inside centre Ryan Nicholas replied for Japan midway through the half with a penalty but just three minutes from halftime, Samoa drove over from an attacking lineout eight metres out, with prop Justin Va’a emerging from the back of the maul to score.

Japan hit back twice in the first 12 minutes of the second half through full back Jack Tarrant and winger Hirotoki Onozawa to take the lead for the first time at 15-12.

But the advantage was shortlived, with big Samoan winger Sailosi Tagicakibau breaking through several tackles before beating the cover defence down the left wing to score a try converted by Williams from the touchline.

Hooker Mahonri Schwalger stretched the lead to nine points, scoring after prop Justin Va’a broke the defensive line to put his fellow front rower in the clear.

Samoa scored two more tries in the last 10 minutes through replacements Esera Lauina and Semo Sititi as the Japanese challenge dissolved.

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