Tonga-Japan Showdown for IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy
Following the third day of round-robin matches on Tuesday April 15 in the International Rugby Board (IRB) Junior World Rugby Trophy for players under 20-years-old, has now reached the finals stage.
Although Tonga lost their initial match to Georgia 10-34, they went on to beat Hong Kong 39-16. They followed this up with a defeat of USA in a thrilling match on Day-3 to finish on equal points with USA (10-all) in Group-A. The head-to-head win was sufficient to squeeze out the No.1 seed at the top of the table. Tonga put on a masterly performance against USA in all aspects of the game: strong marauding forwards play, sound passing and elusive running by the backs to beat USA 28-22.
For all-but the last 15 minutes of the match it was all Tonga putting on a highly motivated, showcase performance. In the last period, USA finished strongly and were within one score of winning the encounter, but could not make the final break through.
In the other Group-A match, Georgia beat host nation Hong Kong 21-8. Once again Hong Kong put on a good display holding the Georgians to 7-3 at half time.
The final ranking order for Group-A is: Tonga, USA, Georgia, Hong Kong.
The Group-B encounter between Uruguay and Namibia, although lower in scoring, was an equally exciting game that no-one deserved to lose. But Uruguay finally came out winners 16-13.
In the final Round-3 match on Tuesday, Japan outclassed Canada with a strong forwards’ performance producing two pushover trys, while setting up many more chances for quick passing and impressive running by the backs. Canada played well in patches, but failed to achieve the consistency of the impressive Japanese team.
The Japanese win gives them a clear position at the top of Group-B with 12-points, two ahead of Uruguay (10), Namibia (7) and Canada (2)
In the Finals on Saturday April 19 the teams ranked 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Group-A play their opposite numbers from Group-B to decide the final overall rankings.
Winners of the Cup Final match between Tonga and Japan will decide the team to progress to the IRB Junior World Cup 2015.
The match schedule on Saturday April 19 for playoff positions is: 7th place—Hong Kong vs Canada; 5th place—Georgia vs Namibia; 3rd place—USA vs Uruguay; and for 1st place and promotion—Tonga vs Japan.