JAPAN MAY just win two games at this year’s Rugby World Cup, after lifting its first Pacific Nations Cup title yesterday.
The Brave Blossoms beat an ill-disciplined, 12-man Fijian side 24-13 in Lautoka yesterday to pip Tonga for the prize.
Heading into the match at Churchill Park, Japan needed a four-try bonus point to win the title. It achieved that, although it took until the final play of the game to score the championship-clinching five-pointer.
The John Kirwan-coached side finished level with Tonga on 10 points, but claimed the trophy thanks to its 28-27 win over Ikale Tahi last weekend.
“This is big for Japan rugby and Fiji gave us the chance as their discipline let them down,” says 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.”
Kirwan is aiming for two wins at the RWC, which kicks off September 9.
He can forget about the pool matches against the All Blacks and France – those will be a bridge too far – but he will be confident about again beating Tonga and also toppling Canada.
Japan will play a RWC warm-up against Italy on August 13.« Back to Archives
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