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The mental toughness Japan has been developing over the last few years — first seen in a 2013 win over Wales in Tokyo — once again came to the fore on Saturday as it kept alive its hopes of winning some silverware even before the Rugby World Cup kicks off.

The Brave Blossoms put aside the absence of their head coach, an early yellow card to Kotaro Matsushima and some worrying penalties to ensure Tonga was never in the Pacific Nations Cup game at Hanazono Rugby Stadium on Saturday, finishing as 41-7 winners in stifling heat and humidity.

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