Japan Fall to Australia in Yokohama
YOKOHAMA (Nov. 4) – Japan were beaten 63-30 by Australia on Saturday at Nissan Stadium – the venue for the final of Rugby World Cup 2019 – in the first of their three autumn test matches.
A poor first half was followed by a much improved second stanza as Japan finished the game strongly.
“It was a game off two halves,” said Japan coach Jamie Joseph. “In the first our discipline was poor, we gave penalties away, got punished at the scrum and couldn’t get going.”
“In the second we showed what we can do when we create pressure on the opposition and then play our type of rugby.”
Played in front of 43,621, the biggest crowd to ever watch a Brave Blossoms test in Japan, the Australians got off to a flying start scoring five tries in the first half.
Tevita Kuridrani touched down twice and there were further five-pointers from Samu Kerevi, Henry Speight and Tatafu Polota-Nau, all of which were converted by Reece Hodge.
In reply, Japan managed just one penalty goal from Rikiya Matsuda as the Wallabies led 35-3 at the break.
“The mindset and attitude was very good from the start,” said Australia coach Michael Cheika.
Japan started the second well with replacement lock Wimpie van der Walt powering over five minutes after the restart and Matsuda kicking the conversion and a penalty.
Kerevi and Kuridrani then added to their first-half efforts either side of another Matsuda penalty.
Nick Phipps and Rob Simmons scored further tries for the Wallabies before Japan finished in style with Amanaki Lelei Mafi and debutant Kazuki Himeno scoring.
“Japan dominated the last 20 minutes and put us under a lot of pressure,” said Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.
Japan now head to Europe to play Tonga and France and Joseph remained in good spirits despite the loss.
“It’s important to remember the Australians have just finished playing the Rugby Championship (against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina. Our players have been playing the Top League and had just eight days in camp. So in terms of what we want to achieve in the long term, they did very well.”