All Blacks lock Scott Barrett smiles after nearly ending Michaels Hooper's career

All Blacks lock Scott Barrett smiles after nearly ending Michaels Hooper’s career

Red all day and this belligerent All Blacks lock who deserves to be banned for the entirety of the Rugby World Cup.

This is so dangerous and very, very bad from Bad Barrett – Scott Barrett.

CREDIT: Sky Sports

CREDIT: Fox Sports

Rugby World Cup 2019 hosts Japan will head into their home tournament as World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup champions.

The Brave Blossoms claimed their third Pacific Nations Cup title on Saturday, thanks to an impressive 34-20 bonus-point win over the USA at ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Both teams went into the final round unbeaten with the Eagles dreaming of a first-ever Pacific Nations Cup crown, but Japan took an early lead after four minutes and refused to relinquish it, continuing their encouraging form with a third successive win in this year’s tournament.

In the second game of the day hosts Fiji leapfrogged the Eagles as they held on to beat Samoa 10-3.

Samoa dominated territory and possession in Suva but were unable to breach the goal line, and were ultimately defeated by a record-breaking Vereniki Goneva try. The try – Goneva’s 21st for his country – saw him become Fiji’s highest-ever try-scorer as he touched down shortly after halftime.

On Friday, Tonga ended their Pacific Nations Cup campaign on a high as they secured a 33-23 victory over Canada at Churchill Park in Fiji.

With six weeks to go to Rugby World Cup 2019 – kicking off in Tokyo on 20 September – this year’s Pacific Nations Cup took on an extra layer of intrigue with all six competing teams using it as preparation for the upcoming global tournament.

Played across three rounds, with matches in Samoa, Fiji, Japan and USA, the tournament offered teams a vital chance to fine tune their squads and scope out their opposition, while fans got a tantalising taste of what is to come next month.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: said: “I would like to congratulate Japan on a fantastic tournament – their thrilling victory over USA in Saturday’s winner-takes-all final round match was an exceptional display of rugby and should set them up superbly for Rugby World Cup 2019 in six weeks’ time. All teams who took part in this year’s World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup have set a truly fascinating stage for what is shaping up to be the most competitive, impactful and ground-breaking Rugby World Cup to date.

“Now in its 14th year, the Pacific Nations Cup has once again delivered three rounds of high-quality international rugby, thrilling fans in stadia from Fiji and Samoa to Japan and USA, and many more on television screens around the world. It was particularly pleasing to see Rugby World Cup host cities Kamaishi and Hanazono come through their operational testing with flying colours, welcoming sell-out crowds to Japan’s home Pacific Nations Cup matches against Fiji and Tonga and ensuring the stadia and infrastructure are Rugby World Cup ready. I would like to pass on my thanks to the Organising Committee for their diligence and professionalism in this process.

“As Japan prepares to welcome the world next month, Rugby World Cup fever is well and truly sweeping the nation. With more than 85 per cent of available Rugby World Cup tickets sold following unprecedented demand from fans in over 170 countries, and more than 400,000 international visitors expected to descend on Japan for the first-ever Rugby World Cup in Asia, the country is gripped with excitement and the Pacific Nations Cup has proved the perfect opener.”

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