9 Mar 2016

Sport: Japan, Fiji make winning start to Pacific Rugby Challenge

1:01 pm on 9 March 2016

Japan and Fiji have made a winning start to the Pacific Rugby Challenge in Suva.

The competition is trialling a different point-scoring system, featuring six point tries, eight points for a penalty try with no conversion taken and two points for a conversion, penalty or drop goal.

Tongan Winger, Tu'ihakavalu Ika scored the opening try of the tournament at ANZ Stadium before Takuhei Yasuda replied for the Japan Juniors, who led 10-8 at halftime after both sides traded penalties.

Makisi Faulua and Doga Maeda crossed in the second half to give the Japanese a comprehensive 26-8 victory, having not won a game during last year's event.

Tonga A captain Sione Lolohea told World Rugby they had "a lot of errors to fix for the next game, particularly our set-pieces and handling of the ball", while his Japanese counterpart Kin insisted that his side were "not satisfied yet but we got the result we wanted."

In the later game, Ki Anufe put Samoa A ahead with an early penalty against the Fiji Warriors but the home side led 12-6 at halftime and proved too strong in the end, scoring four tries, including to replacements Henry Senioli and Vasikali Mudu, and a penalty try, to run out 34-6 victors, despite a yellow card to Aporosa Duwai.

Fiji Warriors captain Peni Ravai was pleased with their first hitout.

"It is a very good first game, the boys played a good game this afternoon. We only had two weeks of preparation but we played well and we won...We played today for the people who suffered from Cyclone Winston, we wanted to put a smile back on their faces."

The second round of matches in this Saturday with Samoa A up against Tonga A and Fiji Warriors facing Junior Japan in a top of the table clash.

The captains pose with the World Rugby Pacific Challenge Trophy.

The captains pose with the World Rugby Pacific Challenge Trophy. Photo: Fiji Rugby