Japan stun Tonga in Australia

Japan have pulled off a surprise 20-17 win over Tonga in Coff’s Harbour in the Pacific Nations Cup on Saturday.

Japan winger Kosuke Endo’s try late in the first half set the Cherry Blossoms on their way, and lock Hitoshi Ono’s try on the hour mark had Japan 20-7 in the lead.

John Kirwan’s side may have been outscored by three tries to two, but Japan’s discipline at the breakdown coupled with a powerful forward performance paved the way for a deserved victory, their first-ever in the competition.

Tonga did stage a late comeback, but were frustrated in the tackle area and had two players sin-binned during the second half to hamper chances of pulling off victory.

Isileli Tupou scored the opening try for Tonga but Japan led 20-7 late in the match after Endo and Ono had scored. Two tries in the final 15 minutes narrowed the gap to three points but Japan held on to win.

Japan’s victory elevates John Kirwan’s side to fourth in the standings ahead of Tonga who are yet to record a win in this year’s tournament.

The scorers:

For Tonga:
Tries: Tupou, Tongauiha, Lilo
Con: Apikota

For Japan:
Tries: Endo, Ono
Cons: Ando 2
Pens: Ando 2

Tonga: 15 Sione Fonua, 14 Aisea Havili Kaufusi, 13 Hudson Tangpuiha, 12 Isileli Tupou, 11 Seti Kote, 10 Fangatapu Apikotoa, 9 David Palu, 8 Samiu Vahafolau, 7 Nili Latu, 6 Hale T-Pole, 5 Sione Kalamafoni, 4 Tevita Tanginoa, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Toma Toke.
Replacements: 16 Patrick Toumoua, 17 Makoni Finua, 18 Tei Mulu Kaufusi, 19 Naisa Sikaiu, 20 Sikalele Ahoafi, 21 Lisiate Tafa, 22 Vunga Lilo.

Japan: 15 Goshi Tachikawa, 14 Kosuke Endo, 13 Bryce Robins, 12 Shotaro Onishi, 11 Christian Loamanu, 10 Eiji Ando, 9 Tomoki Yoshida, 8 Takuro Miuchi, 7 Hare Makiri, 6 Yasunori Watanabe, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Tomokazu Soma, 2 Yuji Matsubara, 1 Tatsukichi Nishiura.
Replacements: 16 Mitsugu Yamamoto 17 Ryo Yamamura 18 Takanori Kumagae 19 Takamichi Sasaki 20 Yuki Yatomi 21 Yuta Imamura 22 Hirotoki Onozawa.

With thanks to the IRB & 365 Digital

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