Japan A Come from Behind to Beat Blues A

In their second game on the tour of New Zealand, Japan A came from behind to beat the Blues A 34-27 at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday 20 April 2018 before the round 10 Super Rugby fixture between the Blues and the Highlanders.

A try to hooker Takeshi Hino and the conversion and two penalties to playmaker Rikiya Matsuda saw Japan A trail 17-13 at the break before the game opened up in the second half. The Blues led 27-20 up to the closing stages of the match before converted tries to replacements Ryuji Noguchi and Naoto Saito pushed the Japanese side across the line first.

Comments by head coach Takanobu Horikawa, “I was not particularly happy with many aspects of our game today, but I am very proud of the team for pulling this win out of the bag. The younger players in this squad impressed during the week and they contributed to the win. We have one more week and one more game left on tour and we want to produce the best possible result.”

Comments by captain Shinya Makabe, “The players that came on in the second half provided the spirit and energy necessary to get us across the line. The team held it together to the end and believed we could always win. We now want to prepare well during the week and surprise the Hurricanes Development side next Thursday.”

Japan A play the Hurricanes Development in Levin next Thursday.

Game 2:

Japan A 34 Blues A 27

Date: Friday, 20 April 2018
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 17.05 (14.05 JST)
Halftime: Blues A 17 – Japan A 13

Japan A 34 – Tries: Takeshi Hino, Yuya Odo, Ryuji Noguchi and Naoto Saito; Conversions: Rikiya Matsuda 4; Penalties: Rikiya Matsuda 2

Japan A: 1- Masataka Mikami, 2- Takeshi Hino, 3- Genki Sudo, 4- Shinya Makabe (c), 5- Uwe Helu, 6- Yuya Odo, 7- Masakatsu Nishikawa, 8- Tevita Tatafu, 9- Koki Arai, 10- Rikiya Matsuda, 11- Kai Ishii, 12- Kanta Shikao, 13- Daishi Murata, 14- Yoshikazu Fujita and 15- Seiya Ozaki. Reserves: 16- Atsushi Sakate, 17- Koki Yamamoto, 18- Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19- Samuela Anise, 20- Faulua Makisi, 21- Willie Britz, 22- Naoto Saito, 23- Robbie Robinson, 24- Lomano Lemeki and 25- Ryuji Noguchi. Coach: Takanobu Horikawa.