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
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Castres vs Bayonne18:30
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs SharksPumas vs Sharks Preview
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00