Japan slump to Tonga defeat ahead of Wales tour

Japan's Yoshikazu Fujita is tackled against Tonga


Hanazono Stadium, Osaka & Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo
Saturdays 8 & 15 June, 2013
06:00 BST
Coverage - First-Test:
(Osaka) - Live on BBC One Wales, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online
Coverage - Second Test :
(Tokyo) - Live on S4C, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales & BBC online

Japan suffered a setback in their build-up for the Wales tour as they lost 27-17 to Tonga in Yokohama in their first Pacific Nations Cup match.

The Cherry Blossoms travel to Fiji next week before the two Test series against Wales in Osaka and Tokyo.

Japan had previously steamrollered their way through the Asian Five Nations, scoring 316 points and conceding just eight.

But winger Fetu'u Vainikolo's two tries set Tonga on their way to victory.

Vainikolo touched down the first two tries in the fifth and 12th minutes to put Tonga in control.

Japan pulled back a try through hooker Takeshi Kizu, but Will Helu's converted try and a further penalty from stand-off Fangatapu Apikotoa gave Tonga a 22-5 lead at half-time.

The home side scored another try through centre Male Sau, but prop Eddie Aholelei restored Tonga's advantage before flanker Hendrik Tui added a fourth try to complete the scoring.

"We played the first half like we had a hangover," said Japan coach Eddie Jones.

"We were still playing like we were playing Asian rugby. Tonga were coming at us in attack and defence and we just sat back. It's a habit we have to get out of.

Defending champions Samoa have opted out of the Pacific Nations Cup, but the United States and Canada will debut later on Saturday in Edmonton in an expanded competition expected to boost 'second tier' nations.

Japan face Wales in Osaka on Saturday, 8 June and again seven days later in Tokyo.

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