Pacific Challenge: Junior Japan’s explosive start

The Junior Japan side celebrates after winning the opener of the World Rugby Pacific Challenge against Samoa in Suva today. Picture: NOA BIUDOLE

AN explosive start to the World Rugby Pacific Challenge with Junior Japan defeating Samoa A 31-21 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva yesterday. ”

It’s always tough playing Samoa and in this environment,” said Japanese skipper Shota Fukui.

“I told my players to just enjoy themselves and take one game at a time.”

Enjoy they did with Japan outscoring their opponents four tries to three.

Japan drew first blood early in the eighth minute through a 22 metre penalty kick from flyhalf Tomoki Kishioka after Samoa was penalised for wheeling the scrum.

Japan extended their lead again in the 15th minute with a set piece move inside the Samoan 22 metre would send inside centre Siosaia Fifita over to the left of the uprights for the first try of the match.

Kishioka added the extras to take up the tally to 10-0.

The Japanese defence finally loosened and Samoa retaliated midway in the first half after lockforward Potu Levasa powered over under the sticks from the five metre after Japan was caught offside.

Samoan flyhalf Tonipo Iamanu’s conversion was successful, closing the deficit and ending the first half with Japan in front 10-7.

The final score Japan 31 – 21 Samoa A.

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