Planet Rugby

Wales scrape past Japan

08th June 2013 07:50

Share:

Liam Williams Wales v Japan

Close call: Japan almost caused an upset

Wales were forced to overturn a half-time deficit as they battled to an unconvincing 22-18 victory over Japan in the first Test in Osaka on Saturday.

The visitors were oustcored two tries to one but a big second half saw them come from behind to snatch victory in the last quarter.

Wales hit the front for the first time on the hour mark having struggled at the breakdown and the set-pieces against a Japanese side seeking their first victory over a top-ten nation.

The hosts led 11-6 at the interval but couldn't match the strength of the Welsh bench as they faded in the latter stages of a hard-fought battle in temperatures in excess of 30 degrees at Hanazono Field.

Wales were without 15 senior players on duty with the British and Irish Lions in Australia, and a number of experienced names left out of the touring party, and it soon became apparent they would miss the presence of a genuine openside flanker.

Wales were on the back foot for much of the opening quarter and trailed 6-0 as Japanese full-back Ayumu Goromaru landed his first two shots at goal while Welsh number eight Rob McCusker was sent to the sin-bin.

Dan Biggar got Wales on the scoreboard as the visitors began to find some rhythm and the fly-half levelled the scores around the half-hour mark.

But it would be Japan who would cross the whitewash first as New Zealand-born flank Michael Broadhurst ghosted over on the stroke of half time after a line-out move.

Goromaru missed the conversion but Japan nevertheless went into the changing rooms with a five-point lead.

Japan still looked the better side after the interval, but Goromaru missed two penalty attempts.

Biggar landed two penalties in the second half to edge Wales ahead before wing Harry Robinson finished off a wonderfully-worked try - including a superb offload from full-back Liam Williams - to give the Six Nations champions some breathing room. Biggar converted.

But it would be a close finish as Japan came storming back. A series of drives up the middle eventually created space on the right for wing Yoshikazu Fujita to cross on the right.

Goromaru's conversion made it a one-point ball-game at 19-18 going into the final ten minutes.

But replacement fly-half Rhys Patchell would have the last laugh for Wales, slotting a 79th-minute penalty to secure the win.

The teams face each other again in Tokyo on Saturday, June 15.

The scorers:

For Japan:
Tries: Broadhurst, Fujita
Cons: Goromaru
Pens: Goromaru 2

For Wales:
Try: Robinson
Con: Biggar
Pens: Biggar 4, Patchell
Yellow card: McCusker

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Yoshikazu Fujita, 13 Male Sau, 12 Craig Wing, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Takashi Kikutani (c), 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Shoji Ito, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Yusuke Nagae, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Toshizumi Kitagawa, 20 Ryuta Yasui, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Hirotoki Onozawa.

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Jonathan Spratt, 11 Dafydd Howells, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 James King, 6 Andrew Coombs, 5 Lou Reed, 4 Bradley Davies (c), 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Andries Pretorius, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Tom Prydie.

Venue: Hanazono Field, Osaka
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Greg Garner (England), tba (Japan)
Assessor: Lyndon Bray

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615