x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Points from Morath the difference as Tonga sink Japan

Tonga beat Japan 31-18 in a frenetic Rugby World Cup clash to grab their first victory of the tournament and keep slim hopes of reaching the knock-out stages.

WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND // Tonga beat Japan 31-18 in a frenetic Rugby World Cup clash to grab their first victory of the tournament and keep slim hopes of reaching the knock-out stages.

With both teams scoring three tries, it was 16 points from the boot of the Tongan fly-half Kurt Morath which ultimately proved the difference in an engrossing contest at Northland Events Centre between two sides who had lost their opening two matches in Pool A.

The No 8 Viliami Ma'afu, lock Tukulua Lokotui and winger Fetu'u Vainikolo crossed for the Tongans with the prop Kensuke Hatakeyama, outstanding flanker Michael Leitch and centre Alisi Tupuailai replying for Japan.

Japan's "Brave Blossoms", who now cannot achieve their goal of winning two matches at the tournament, had to be satisfied with a single penalty from full-back Shaun Webb.