9 Jul 2011

Sport: Tonga's rugby team keen to break Japan duck

7:28 am on 9 July 2011

Tonga is not getting carried away after their fast start to the Pacific Nations Cup rugby tournament.

The Ikale Tahi thrashed Fiji 45-21 last weekend, a result which saw them rise four spots to 12th in the latest world rankings.

This afternoon they face Japan, who slipped to 15th place after an opening round loss to Samoa.

Coach Isitolo Maka says luck didn't go Japan's way in that match but when it comes to playing Tonga, the Cherry Blossoms have a strong track record.

"We have a lot of respect for Japan. We haven't beaten them for so long - a couple of years now - but the players have trained well this week, we played more like a team, better than we've been together last week. I think the bit more time we've spent together with the boys since Monday, the training has gone really really well so we're all looking forward to the Japan game."

Following the Tonga v Japan game Fiji face Samoa, also at the National Stadium in Suva.