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Tonga beat Japan to finish third at Pacific Nations Cup

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Tonga claimed third place at the Pacific Nations Cup with a hard-fought 31-20 victory against Japan in Burnaby.

Halani Aulika, Fetu'u Vainikolo and Sonatane Takulua all crossed over for the Tongans, with Hendrik Tui scoring Japan's only try.

Japan led 6-3 following two penalties from Ayumu Goromaru, before Aulika's 30th minute try was converted by Kurt Morath to give Tonga a 10-6 lead. However, Tui responded to put Eddie Jones's side momentarily back in front.

Two further kicks from the boot of Morath ensured the Tongans held a 16-11 lead at the break. It soon became a contest of kicking, with Ayumu Goromaru landing two penalties shortly after the interval to once again give Japan a slim lead.

Vainikolo's try restored the advantage for Tonga and, after Hayden Hopgood's yellow card reduced Japan to 14 men, Takulua took full advantage to secure victory for his side.