Japan 31 Fiji 35: Qera keeps brave Japan at bay in thriller

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The Independent Online

Fiji survived a fantastic late comeback by the Japanese to win a colourful, exciting game that was a great advertisement for the World Cup here in Toulouse last night.

The Fijians edged home after a battering in the final minutes by their desperate opponents. The Japanese, who played with heart and zeal after their 91-3 loss to Australia, would have won but for poor handling at critical moments.

The lead changed hands seven times before Fiji began to make their superiority tell. Neither side lacked ambition in the perfect conditions of a warm Toulouse evening, but accuracy of execution was another matter.

Fiji's Gloucester flanker Akapusi Qera scored two tries, the first after a searing run from 65 metres. The flanker added a second nine minutes after half-time, after a break by the scrum half Mosese Rauluni. And when Seru Rabeni got a third seven minutes later, Fiji looked in charge.

But the Japanese forwards Luke Thompson (two) and Tomokazu Soma scored tries to put Japan back in it and Fiji needed Kele Leawere's try and Nicky Little's kicking to get them home.

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