Junior Japan finish second in World Rugby Pacific Challenge , Seven first-half tries set Fiji Warriors on the way to an emphatic 57-7 defeat of Tonga A and a third successive World Rugby Pacific Challenge title in Suva on Saturday.
The Warriors recorded three bonus point wins to claim the title with a maximum 15 points, five clear of Junior Japan who finished as runners-up for the second year in a row following a 29-21 victory over Samoa A in the day’s opening match.
Samoa A finished third with five points with Tonga A propping up the standings with a solitary point.
The battle for second place in the standings was a close one with Junior Japan only making certain of victory at the death with number eight Tevita Tatafu’s second try of the match.
— Asia Rugby (@asiarugby) March 17, 2018
Tatafu, who had scored a hat-trick in round one against Tonga A, opened the scoring in the first quarter against the Samoans, but that lead proved short-lived as tries from scrum-half Melani Matavao and winger Johny Vaili put their side ahead.
Winger Nicholas Hohua crossed for a second try for Junior Japan, but the missed conversion meant they went in trailing 14-12 at half-time.
Within a minute of the restart full-back Koga Nezuka had given Junior Japan the lead for the second time in the match.
Both sides then lost a player to sin-bin in centre Siosaia Fifita and hooker Gafa Suva and while they were off the pitch Junior Japan increased their lead with a penalty by Yuto Mori.
Samoa A were still down a man when winger Noel Sanft crossed to cut the deficit to 22-21, but there was to be no comeback victory for the Pacific Islanders as Tatafu eased Japanese nerves with his second of the match to secure the win and the bonus point.
Photos: Kitione Rokomanu/Zoomfiji