Japan clinch victory with injury-time try against Fiji

2011-07-14 00:00

LAUTOKA — Japan have won the Pacific Nations Cup tournament for the first time by beating 12-man Fiji 24-13 on Tuesday, with Yuta Imamura scoring the crucial bonus-point try in the seventh minute of injury time.

Fiji had three players sent off and two more sin-binned, allowing Japan to come from 8-0 down at half-time and score the four tries they needed to pip Tonga for the title. Tonga had earlier beaten defending champion Samoa 29-19.

Fiji backrower Sisa Koyamaibole was sent off in the 23rd minute for a dangerous tackle, centre Seru Rabeni in the 60th minute for a high tackle and Wise Luveniyali was red carded in injury time. Fiji captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu and flyhalf Seremaia Bai received yellow cards.

All four teams began the last round of the tournament with 1-1 records but Tonga had two bonus points while Japan, Fiji and Samoa had one each.

Tonga beat Samoa, with flyhalf Kurt Morath kicking 19 points, to move five points clear of Japan and Fiji on the championship table and to ensure a new champion would be crowned. Fiji needed a bonus point and a win by almost 40 points to clinch the title while Japan needed only a bonus point to finish in first place.

With four tries needed for a bonus point, Japan scored their third try 15 minutes from full-time but were held out by a depleted and tiring Fiji until late in injury time when Imamura crossed.

Wing Napolioni Nalaga scored two tries for a Fiji team which had undergone 14 changes after their second round win over Samoa, which followed a first-round loss to Tonga.

Fiji led 8-0 at half-time but were already down to 14 men after the loss of Koyamaibole and played 10 minutes of the first half with only 13 players.

Go Aruga scored Japan’s first try in the fifth minute of the second spell but Nalaga re-established Fiji’s eight-point lead with his second try for the side.

Japan centre Ryan Nicholas then scored and converted his own try to cut the lead to 13-12. Japan took the lead for the first time when Shota Hori scored the third try in the 65th minute.

Had Imamura not crossed for the last fourth try, Tonga would have claimed their first PNC title.

Fiji coach Sam Domoni said his team’s lack of discipline cost it the match. “It’s unacceptable. We can’t win Test matches with 12 men,” he said.

“We can’t blame the referees for the calls against us. We will go back to see the footage and review where we went wrong. It gives us a fair idea of what we need to do now.

Domoni said Fiji would decide today which players will be available to face New Zealand next week.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.