Fiji needs to beat Japan to make final

Fumiaki Tanaka will play for the Cherry Blossoms for the first time this year against Fiji. Photo: Stuff.co.nz

Fumiaki Tanaka will play for the Cherry Blossoms for the first time this year against Fiji. Photo: Stuff.co.nz

Fiji has to beat Japan tomorrow in Toronto in the third and final round of pool games to make the final of the Pacific Nations Cup.

Sitting atop Pool B with seven points Fiji needs a win to make it to playoff for the top two positions which will be played in Burnaby in British Columbia on Monday.

Samoa is sitting at the top of Pool A also with seven points but Japan and the USA with five points and Tonga on four points are within striking distance to make the points to make it to the top two.

Following the games in Canada, the competition will move into a play-off system where the scrap for fifth place, the bronze medal and of course the final occur, with those fixtures taking place at Swanguard Stadium, Burnaby. Due to the congested table, only Canada cannot make the final in an exciting pool finish.

Japan’s meeting with Fiji is a key one and they are boosted by Michael Leitch, Hendrik Tui, Shoji Ito and Fumiaki Tanaka all making their first appearances in 2015’s tournament, while Shota Horie, Ayumu Goromaru, Yu Tamura and Kenki Fukuoka return after being rested against the Eagles. The Fijians meanwhile opt to go with Napolioni Nalaga on the left wing in place of Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

Tonga face USA without Nili Latu so Jack Ram comes in at openside flank for them, with Steve Mafi skippering the side.

Samoa combine Sinoti Sinoti with Alesani Tuilagi on the wing for the first time this year in what is a strong partnership.

Pacific Nations Cup Standings

Pool A

1 Samoa 7
2 Japan 5
3 Tonga 4

Pool B

1 Fiji 7
2 USA 5
3 Canada 0

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