Wow some breath-taking rugby to finish the group stage with, here is my review of all the action.
First here is a link to my review of the round 2 action.
Pacific Nations Cup
USA 19 – 33 Tonga
Fiji 27 – 22 Japan
Canada 20 – 21 Samoa
3 from 3, a much improved return after all the upsets in round 2.
Tonga took a fairly comfortable win in the first of the games, backing up their win over Canada in the last round. At one point the score line was looking as though it was going to be more dominating as Tonga racked up a 33-9 lead off the back of three tries. But 2 late tries for the USA made it look more respectable than it was. They will have to list themselves off for clash with their neighbours who put in a battling performance.
Japan started much better with a side that looked much more like the one that will start in the World Cup. They got 3 penalties for their hard work, but that was all undone in the space of 8 minutes. Fiji ran in three tries to lead 24-9 at half time. Discipline really hurt Fiji in the second half as they lost a player to the bin early on and Japan capitalised with try and penalty. Fiji managed just on penalty in the second half to reopen a ten point gap but Japan came back again with a not the try with just over ten minutes to go. Japan then pushed for that final score but despite Fiji losing two players to the bin couldn’t get the crucial score. There will be questions of the ref as many felt a penalty try should have been awarded towards the end. Japan though should have made more of their opportunities earlier in the game so it wasn’t in the ref’s hands.
From one close finish to an even closer one. Up until now Canada have had a poor tournament, here though they came storming out of the blocks to take 13-0 lead after only 13 minutes. Whilst they couldn’t add to that in the first half, they did manage to restrict Samoa to 3 points to hold a 10 point lead at the break. Samoa came storming back with 13 unanswered points of their own to lead by 3 points. But a try 5 minutes from time for Canada looked to have sealed a 20-16 win. Somebody forgot to tell the Islanders who marched down to the Canadian line from the kickoff to have a 5 metre line out. Canada won the lineout, only for two players to collide dropping the ball and allowing Samoa to dive on it for the match winning try.
1 FIJI 2 SAMOA 3 TONGA 4 JAPAN 5 USA 6 CANADA
So the final table matches the world rankings, with the exception that Fiji and Samoa are swapped. This means the finals should all be close fought affairs.
Join in the predicting fun, I’m running leagues for the Currie Cup, ITM Cup and NRC. Also enjoy the excitement of the up coming Rugby World Cup by joining the August Internationals and Rugby World Cup leagues as well.