Japan defeated Canada 20-6 in their opening game of the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup in San Jose, California on Saturday.
Canada’s points came from the boot of Gordon McRorie who kicked two penalties, while Japan captain and all-time leading points scorer Ayumu Goromaru kicked five penalties while Yoshikazu Fujita had the only try of the game.
Goromaru kicked Japan ahead after only eight minutes but Canada responded with sustained pressure, DTH Van Der Merwe getting around the Japanese line but his offload fell into the wrong hands.
Canada couldn’t convert and Japan scored the first, and only, try of the game in the 16th minute. Kotaro Matsushima darted through the Canadian line and his offload found Fujita who cruised in for his 25th test try. Goromaru couldn’t add the conversion, leaving Japan up 8-0.
Canada responded brilliantly however as McRorie converted his first penalty of the game after Hitoshi Ono was penalized.
Goromaru extended the Japanese lead in the 29th minute to 11-3 with his second penalty of the night. A few minutes later, Japan were reduced to 14 men as Yu Tamara was sent to the sin-bin for a tip tackle on Connor Braid.
Despite the man advantage, Canada were unable to put points on the board and trailed 11-3 at the break after Goromaru missed a penalty in the 39th minute.
However, he would make up for it in the 44th minute as Canada were penalized for not using the ball at the back of the scrum and less than 10 minutes later, the lead was 17-3.
Once again Canada responded well, first, Braid smashed through the Japanese line but his offload found the hands of Michael Broadhurst which ultimately led to a penalty, that McRorie converted in the 61st minute.
Goromaru added his fifth and final penalty in the 67th minute to make it 20-6 and Canada spent the final 10 minutes of the game camped in the Japanese half but couldn’t find a way pass the stingy Brave Blossoms defence.
Pens: McRorie 2
Pens: Goromaru 5
Canada: 15 Matt Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Connor Braid, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Liam Underwood, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Thyssen de Goede, 5 Jon Phelan, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Doug Wooldridge, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Carpenter, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Andrew Tiedemann, 19 Tyler Hotson, 20 Callum Morrison, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Nathan Hirayama, 23 Phil Mackenzie.
Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru (c), 14 Yoshikazu Fujita, 13 Kotaro Matsushima, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Hayden Hopgood, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Justin Ives, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Hisateru Hirashima.
Replacements: 16 Keita Inagaki, 17 Takeshi Kizu, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Kazuhiko Usami, 20 Tsuyoshi Murata, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Toshiaki Hirose, 23 Tim Bennetts.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Nick Ricono (USA)
Report courtesy of Canada Rugby