Fiji topple Pacific champions

05th Jun 2012, 13:34

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Losing start: Japanese flank Takamichi Sasaki

Losing start: Japanese flank Takamichi Sasaki

Japan stumbled at the first hurdle of their Pacific Nations Cup title defence on Tuesday, losing 25-18 to Fiji at Nagoya's Mizuho Park.

Japan stumbled at the first hurdle of their Pacific Nations Cup title defence on Tuesday, losing 25-18 to Fiji at Nagoya's Mizuho Park.

Fiji outscored the defending champions three tries to one as the Brave Blossoms' slumped to their first loss under new coach Eddie Jones.

Three penalties by full-back Ayumu Goromaru saw Japan take a 9-0 lead by the 20th minute as they took the game to the Pacific islanders.

Japan had the lion's share of possession but the Fijians looked dangerous on the counter and the visitors led 14-9 at half time thanks to tries from Isake Katonibau and Waisea Nayacalevu.

Setareki Koroilagilagi and Goromaru exchanged penalties to start the second half but Fiji moved further ahead in the 50th minute as Japan struggled with their discipline at the breakdown.

Japan's woes continued when Watisoni Votu created a try for Vereniki Goneva in the 62nd minute.

Japan were still in the game in the closing stages however after being awarded a penalty try thanks to a superb driving maul that the Fijians tried to stop illegally.

But Japan continued to make unforced errors in the dying minutes and they were unable to close the gap.

The scorers:

For Japan:
Try: penalty try
Con: Goromaru
Pens: Goromaru 4

For Fiji:
Tries: Katonibau, Nayacalevu, Goneva
Cons: Koroilagilagi 2

Pens: Koroilagilagi 2

Japan:15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Toshiaki Hirose, 13 Tomohiro Senba, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Hirotoki Onozawa, 10 Kosei Ono, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Takamichi Sasaki, 6 Yuta Mochizuki, 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Shinya Makabe, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Yusuke Nagae.
Replacements:16 Ryuhei Arita, 17 Hiroshi Yamashita, 18 Shoji Ito, 19 Takashi Kikutani, 20 Jun Fujii, 21 Ryan Nicholas, 22 Yasunori Nagatomo.

Fiji: 15 Isimeli Koniferedi, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Aisake Katonibau, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Setareki Koroilagilagi, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Netani Talei (c), 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Iliesa Ratuva, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Apisai Naikatini, 3 Setefano Somoca, 2 Viliame Veikoso, 1 Graham Dewes.
Replacements: 16 Seremaia Naureure, 17 Waisea Daveta, 18 Samu Bola, 19 Kelepi Ketedromo, 20 Kelemedi Bola, 21 Benedito Koroi, 22 Alusio Buto