Japan kick-start World Cup preparations with 34-21 win over Fiji

Kotaro Matsushima was one of the try-scorer for Japan
Kotaro Matsushima was one of the try-scorer for Japan
©Steve Haag

Japan 34-21 Fiji, Kamaishi

Japan kick-started their preparations for the World Cup with a 34-21 win over Fiji in their opening game of the Pacific Nations Cup in Kamaishi.

Yu Tamura kicked a penalty to kick-start the proceedings following which Kenki Fukuoka dived over the line.

The response from Fiji came through a try from Levani Botia but further tries from Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele and Kazuki Himeno ensured Japan had control of the game despite Fiji managing their second try through Sam Matavesi before the break. At half-time mark, Japan had a lead of 29-14.

The second half saw Matsushima scoring his second as the hosts stretched their tally to 34 points in front of 13,000 spectators. Fiji hooker Matavesi scored a converted try but it was Japan, who went on to complete a 13 point win.

“I’m so glad to win against the wonderful team,” said Tamura. “We outperformed them in contact,” he added.

Earlier, Samoa kick-started the tournament with a 25-17 win over Tonga in Apia.

Japan will host Tonga in their second game of the Pacific Nations Cup on 3rd August.