Sunday, 10 June 2012

Japan v Tonga, Pacific Nations Cup

Tongan Sipi Taudrive!scrum downSoaring highPot at goalGrubber
Tonga on the attack

Marcus and I spent a day at the rugby. We caught the second half of Fiji v Samoa and all of Japan v Tonga.

Unfortunately it wasn't Japan's day, going down 20-24 in an exciting match.


  1. As someone who isn't abl;e to watch the pacific nations cup games, could you inform me if Japan seem to have come on since Eddie Jones was named coach or were they better off with Kirwan?

    Would love to see a Japanese side in the Super 15. Maybe even their international side? Would add something different and I bet the rest of the competition would enjoy playing matches in Tokyo...something different eh!

  2. Thanks Phil

    Have Japan come on? Hmm, tricky question - I don't think there is a lot between the 4 teams in the Pacific Nations Cup, Japan lost 20-24 v Tonga and lost 19-25 to Fiji last week, so yes, they lost both, but both only by 'losing bonus point' margins, therefore they were tight games and the Tonga match could have gone either way.

    Personally I thought Japan played better in patches at the RWC, v France and v New Zealand especially, but couldn't sustain it. The handling is there definietly and the technique with things like their rolling maul, so when you combine this and then the backs get the ball and move it quickly, as they did in the RWC, they cause problems.

    What they lack, which is their perennial problem, is a bit of height in the second and back rows (though the No.8, on debut I think, Tui is big, mobile and had a good game) and a bit of beef in the 10-12 channel. Tonga picked a big back line and they had the power to smash through the defensive line or it took 2-3 Japan players to bring them down, opening holes elsewhere.

    I think Kirwan did a good job and took them a long way. Jones needs to instill confidence, bulk the players up a bit (and work on their fitness too), win his battles over the JRFU (a shop so closed and with so many vested interests it makes the RFU look like a hippy commune) and get his team playing more games against better opposition.

    So Japan in the S15, would be great if they could, along with a pacific islands team. What hampers Japan is they they play about 6 tests a year, 3 in the Asian 5N, which they win by a landslide, and then 3 in the PNC, which are good games at teams around the same level, but they need more.


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