13 Sep 2007

Fiji and Tonga begin Rugby World Cup with wins

10:39 am on 13 September 2007

Tonga and Fiji have opened their Rugby World Cup campaigns with wins in France.

Tonga produced a strong start and finish to beat USA 25-15 while Fiji withstood a strong challenge from Japan to win 35-31.

Fiji's game against the Asian champ got off to a scrappy start with both teams struggling to maintain possession

After Fiji led 10-9 after 40 minutes the game exploded into life in the second half.

Fiji scored its fourth try 10 minutes from full-time to snare a bonus point after the lead had changed hands six times throughout the match

First five Nicky Little added three penalties and three conversions to become just the 13th player to pass 600 points in international rugby, the first Pacific representative to reach the milestone.

In Montpelier, Tonga scored a try in the second minute and wrapped up the contest with two spectacular tries to winger ,Joseph Vaka, and replacement, Viliami Vaki, in the final quarter.

Its Tonga third win at a World Cup and ended a sequence of opening losses at their previous four tournaments.