Planet Rugby

Scotland too strong for Japan

09th November 2013 16:21

Share:

Kenki Fukuoka Japan v Scotland 2013

Kenki Fukuoka: Kept the Scots busy

Scotland held off a spirited performance from Japan before claiming a 42-17 victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.

A brace of tries from Tommy Seymour, and scores from Greig Laidlaw, Al Dickinson and Sean Lamont cancelled out a wonderful double from the visitors' speedster, Kenki Fukuoka.

The Brave Blossoms imposed themselves well, with the wonderfully quick ball they generated, and the fleetness of their outside backs causing the Scots problems in defence.

And indeed, they twice clawed themselves back to within a single point of the Scots, showing discipline and resilience to score a couple of excellent tries.

It was, however, a disjointed opening quarter, with neither side able to string many phases together.

The hosts looked rusty on their first outing as a team since June, and static attacking play combined with knock-ons and errors stunted their attack.

Laidlaw put the Scots on the board with two penalties, as the Scottish scrum dominated their much lighter opponents, forcing a multitude of Japanese infringements.

And things were looking ominous for the Cherry Blossoms as the men in blue started to click out wide, and gaps appeared in midfield. Sean Maitland burst into the 22, before the ball was recycled well, and several phases later, Seymour took advantage of stretched Japanese defence to loop around Jackson and score in the corner.

The scrum-half failed to add the extras, though, and full-back Ayumu Goromaru got the visitors on the board with a penalty late in the first half.

The Scots led 11-3 at the break, having had a Lamont try disallowed by the TMO thanks to obstruction from Tim Swinson, but the Japanese came flying out of the blocks in the second-half to shell-shock their hosts.

Laidlaw was penalised for a squint feed to a scrum on halfway, and the visitors - in keeping with the verve and pace they so favour in attack - went for a quick tap.

Great handling up the left-hand-side sent Fukuoka - who had threatened several times in the opening forty - scampering round and under the posts. Goromaru's kick reduced the deficit to a single point.

Scotland responded well to this setback, though, with an opportunist try from Laidlaw as he sniped over from two metres out to extend the lead.

But back came Japan again, and in some considerable style. Brutalised in the scrum all afternoon, the Cherry Blossoms drove Scotland back on their own ball, and won possession against the head.

Their speed of play came to the fore once again, as Goromaru made a clean break through the middle. He was hauled down just metres short of the line by three defenders, but his offload to Fukuoka was perfect, and the winger had a run-in for his second.

Once again, though, Scotland persevered, and were rewarded as Seymour was set free by a fine Jackson pass for his second try after the forwards had sucked in the Japanse defence.

Now, the Scots had well and truly hit their stride, and when number eight Ryu Holani was sin-binned for slowing the ball down, the hosts pressed home their numerical advantage.

The industrious Tim Swinson was held up over the line, but moments later, excellent sleight of hand from Ross Ford and Jackson saw Al Dickinson crashing his way over from 20 metres out.

That proved to be the killer blow for the Japanse, who shipped two further tries from Weir and Lamont - both of which were verified by the TMO - and lost Goromaru to the sin-bin for the final three minutes.

All in all, a pleasing first outing for Scott Johnson's men, with the performance of the back-row, aided by the outstanding Swinson, proving major positives given the challenges that lie ahead in the coming weeks.

Man of the Match: There were a few candidates, but none more impressive than Tim Swinson. Despite his lack of size at second-row, the Glasgow Warriors man was excellent in the loose, making big hits aplenty and always making yards with ball in hand. With this showing, he be in real contention to face South Africa next week.

Moment of the Match: The beginning of the end for Japan was marked by Dickinson's tidy score. There are few finer sights in rugby than a prop barrelling his way over the line from distance.

Villain of the Match: Ryu Holani's yellow-card contributed heftily to Japan's downfall, with the Cherry Blossoms shipping two tries while down to fourteen men.

The scorers:

For Scotland:
Tries: Seymour 2, Laidlaw, Dickinson, Weir, Lamont
Con: Laidlaw 2, Weir
Pen: Laidlaw 2

For Japan:
Tries: Fukuoka 2
Con: Goromaru 2
Pen: Goromaru

Scotland: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick de Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 David Denton, 7 Kelly Brown (c), 6 Al Strokosch, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Al Dickinson, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Richie Gray, 20 John Barclay, 21 Henry Prygos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Toshiaki Hirose (c), 13 Male Sau, 12 Craig Wing, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Kosei Ono, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Shinya Makabe, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Yusuke Aoki, 17 Yusuke Nagae, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Hitoshi Ono, 20 Takashi Kikutani, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Yoshikazu Fujita.

Referee: JP Doyle (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Preview
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26