22 Jun 2013

Sport: Pacific Nations Cup to be decided in Tokyo

5:32 am on 22 June 2013

The Pacific Nations Cup will unearth a new champion tomorrow night when Fiji and Tonga square off in, of all places, Tokyo.

The Flying Fijians picked up maximum points against the USA on Wednesday to keep their hopes alive while Tonga are fresh from a win of their own against the Americans last weekend.

Canada still top the standings but, having played all of their fixtures, will be leapfrogged by whoever wins the Pacific derby.

Having coped with a gruelling schedule and an IRB investigation into comments from head coach Mana Otai, the Tonga Rugby Union's High Performance Manager, Peter Harding, says victory would a welcome finish.

"It's been a long tour. One test was two weeks outside the test window - we put a team together and the players that put their hands up definitely need a pat on the back. We did have a bit of a hiccup in Canada - there was a few things that went on - but we're past that now and if we can win this tournament, for a small country like Tonga, for Tonga Rugby Union and for the players themselves, it will be a fantastic positive for everything that's going on."

Peter Harding says, while the introduction of teams from North America has been a positive for the competition, he hopes the Cup will remain down under.