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
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs WaspsLeicester Tigers vs Wasps Preview
Exeter vs SaracensExeter vs Saracens Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs GloucesterLondon Irish vs Gloucester Preview
London Welsh vs NorthamptonLondon Welsh vs Northampton Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale SharksNewcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , December 5
Montpellier vs Bath19:45
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Leinster vs OspreysLeinster vs Ospreys Preview
Connacht vs ScarletsConnacht vs Scarlets Preview
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs DragonsGlasgow Warriors vs Dragons Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
Friday , December 5
Brive vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Rovigo18:30
Newcastle vs Stade Francais20:00
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont AuvergneToulon vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath 25 - 6 HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Report
Munster 21 - 20 UlsterMunster vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath933
2Northampton830
3Exeter828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821