Canada’s Harry Jones comes up against a Japanese roadblock in the shape of Shota Horie. Photo: Getty Images
Japan overcame a 16-point half-time deficit to defeat Canada 34-25 in the opening round of the Pacific Nations Cup.
Led by the boot of Ayumu Goromaru, Japan scored 25 unanswered points in the second-half as they extended their winning streak to eight games.
Goromaru landed five penalties and two conversions for a personal tally of 19 points, while Japan scored three tries thanks to Yoshikazu Fujita, Yu Tamura and Hendrik Tui.
Josh Afu scored a try against Samoa. Photo: Planet Rugby
Underdogs Tonga snatched an 18-18 draw in injury time against Samoa to launch the Pacific Nations Cup tournament in dramatic fashion in Apia on Saturday.
The clock had ticked a minute past full-time with Manu Samoa clinging to an 18-15 lead when Tongan lock Josh Afu was pulled down in a line-out.
Referee Wayne Barnes had no hesitation awarding the penalty and Tongan replacement back Fangatapu Apikotoa calmly slotted the difficult 40-metre shot at goal.
Before a capacity crowd of more than 14,000, Samoa – ranked ninth in the world, four places higher than Tonga – were expected to produce a much improved performance from when they were humbled 33-14 by Japan last month.
But the injection of their senior professionals from Europe, who were absent in Tokyo, did little to lift their game and the crowd was silenced in the 21st minute when Tonga’s right winger, Otulea Katoa scooted over to score the first try of the match.
Racing Metro owner Jackie Lorenzetti stormed out of the meeting. Photo: Planet Rugby
The future of the Rugby Champions Cup appears to be in serious doubt after the Ligue Nationale de Rugby sided with the FFR on Thursday.
France’s Top 14 clubs (represented by the LNR) will now take part in the newly-formatted Heineken Cup next season, rather than in the breakaway RCC competition announced by Premiership Rugby representing the English clubs earlier this year, according to reports.
The decision was made following a vote by the representatives of the 14 clubs with the FFR at a meeting outside Paris, with Racing Métro owner Jacky Lorenzetti reportedly storming out following the outcome according to RugbyRama.
This is an opinion piece by former Wallaby Mathew Burke on the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour to Australia in June. Burke is a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald.
I’m sensing the vibe is a little different for this series against the British and Irish Lions compared with 2001.
The Force has parted ways with Alfie Mafi. Photo: Getty Images
The Western Force have parted ways with star winger Alfie Mafi citing a number of disciplinary breaches by the 24-year-old at the Perth-based Super Rugby franchise.
Mafi thrust himself into Wallabies calculations earlier this year when scoring five tries from his first six games of the season.
But wayward off-field behaviour has cost him his place in the squad, with the Force releasing Mafi on Sunday due to “a number of infringements of team standards and disciplinary indiscretions”.
RugbyWA chief executive Mark Sinderberry said the Force’s strong focus on its standards meant it was the right decision to release Mafi.