World Cup hosts Japan hammered Tonga 41-7 on Saturday to continue their build-up to the showpiece event. With less than 50 days to go before the Brave Blossoms welcome the rugby world to the land of the rising sun, they scored five tries to Tonga’s one to secure a second victory from two outings in this year’s Pacific Nations Cup.
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Amanaki Lelei Mafi opened the scoring for the Far East side, with Asaeli Ai Valu and Timothy Lafaele also touching down to give the home side a 21-0 half-time lead. Leva Fifita scored a converted try for Tonga early in the second period although that was as good as it got as Kotaro Matsushima and Kenki Fukuoka scored five-pointers for Japan to put the seal on an emphatic triumph.
Captain Michael Leitch was pleased with the progress his side is making as they prepare for the biggest tournament in the world. “There was so much pressure from them, it shows our performance is improving from last week,” he said. “We’re doing well on the way to the World Cup.”