IRB Pacific Nations CUP
Hirotoki Onozawa will line up for Japan against Tonga in the ANZ
Pacific Nations Cup this weekend gunning for a team victory, but
also harbouring ambitions to join an elite bracket of the
game's leading marksmen.
Onozawa's try from centre in Japan's stunning win against Samoa in the last round of matches brought his test match tally to 40, meaning he is just one try short of making it into the world's all-time top 10 list.
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Countryman Daisuke Ohata leads the way with 69 tries ahead of Wallaby great David Campese (64), while there are also four kiwis in the top 10.
So far, 32-year-old Onozawa's tries have come in 55 tests for the Cherry Blossoms, 28 of which have been won, two drawn and 25 lost.
He has also proved a lucky charm in recent times against the Tongans, having played in all of Japan's three Pacific Nations Cup wins against the hulking islanders in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Fiji a win away from PNC glory
So far in this year's Pacific Nations Cup, Fiji are the only side to have gone unbeaten. Samu Domoni's men beat first the Japanese 22-8 and then Tonga in the second round 41-38 to remain on course for the title.
Their final clash against traditional rivals and local
favourites Samoa, however, could well prove their toughest test.
Samoa will be desperate to put in an improved performance, having
fallen to only their second-ever loss to Japan in front of their
home support in Apia last time round.
"This tournament continues to go from strength to strength and the rugby played gets better with each year," said IRB General Manager for Oceania, Will Glenwright.
"The Samoan Rugby Union has done a fine job of staging the event for the first time and they've been rewarded by the teams, who have all really come to play.
"The final weekend is all set to deliver yet more excitement and drama."
Test match rugby all time leading try-scorers
1 Daisuke Ohata (Japan) - 69
2 David Campese (Australia) - 64
3 Shane Williams (Wales - 53
4 Rory Underwood (England) - 50
5 Doug Howlett (New Zealand) - 49
6 Christian Cullen (New Zealand) - 46
7 Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand) - 45
8 Jeff Wilson (New Zealand) - 44
9= Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland) / Gareth Thomas (Wales) - 41
11= Hirotoki Onozawa (Japan) / Chris Latham (Australia) - 40
* Official IRB data