Tonga coach Mana ‘Otai hailed his Ikaletahi team for their character and grit after they surged pass the Japanese 27-17 in the Pacific Nations Cup opening rugby match at the Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday.
He told Kaniva news the team’s “physical presence” and how they managed to disrupt the Japanese rhythm were key factors in the ‘Ikaletahi’s triumph.
Tonga’s first 2 tries by Fetu’u Vainikolo and a conversion by Fangatapu Apikotoa put Ikaletahi in an early lead 12 – 0
Takeshi Kizu tried for Japan in the 20th minute.
Before the break Will Helu scored another try for Ikaletahi and a penalty and conversion by Apikotoa gave Tonga 22-5 lead.
A second try for Japan minute in the starting of the second half but Eddie Aholelei scored another try for Tonga in the corner taking the score to 27-10.
Japan’s third try was scored by Hendrik Tui in the 65th minute and converted by Ayumu Goromaru bringing the scores to a victory for Tonga 27-17.