World Rugby U20 Trophy 2019: Japan U20 into Trophy Final with Win over Kenya U20

The World Rugby Under-20 Trophy 2019 is being held at the Estadio Martins Pereira in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil from 9-21 July 2019.

In their third and final pool game at the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy 2019 in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, Japan Under-20 beat Kenya Under-20 48-34. This comes on the heels of a 56-24 win hosts Brazil Under-20 in their opening match last Tuesday and a 46-31 win over Uruguay Under-20 on Saturday.

The three wins from three starts meant Japan Under-20 topped Pool A, and they now face Portugal U-20, who topped Pool B, in the final for a place in the 2020 World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

Early tries to wing Halatoa Vailea, prop Shohei Tsujimura and centre Taihei Kusaka got Japan Under-20 out to a comfortable 19-3 lead midway through the opening half. Two more tries from Vailea pushed the halftime score out to 31-15 with lock Hibrahim Ayoo and wing Timothy Omela also touching down for Kenya.

The game opened up in the second half with two yellow cards to either side further fracturing the rhythm of the game. However, this created opportunities for the free-running Kenyans against the structured Japanese side. Converted tries to prop Ian Masheti and right wing Geofrey Okwach closed the gap down to 31-29 by the hour mark, leaving the game finely poised going into the final quarter. Nevertheless, a penalty try followed by an eighth team try to flyhalf Takumi Aoki got the Japan Under-20 side home in the end. Okwach also brought up a brace with Kenya Under-20 finishing with five tries on the scoresheet.

Japan U20 48 d Kenya U20 34
Date: Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Venue: Estadio Martins Pereira, Sao Jose dos Campos
Kick-off: 17:00 (+1, 05:00 JST)
Halftime: Japan U20 31 – Kenya U20 15

Japan U20 48 – Tries: Halatoa Vailea 3, Taihei Kusaka, Shohei Tsujimura, Takumi Aoki, Futo Yamaguchi and penalty try; Conversions: Takumi Aoki 3 d.

Kenya U20 31 – Tries: Geofrey Okwach 2, Ian Masheti, Hibrahim Ayoo and Timothy Omela; Conversions: Dominic Coulson 3; Penalty: Dominic Coulson.

Japan U20: 1- Gun Tajima, 2- Daiki Nishiyama, 3- Shohei Tsujimura, 4- Koki Matsumoto, 5- Ogi Yanamoto, 6- Akito Okui, 7- Hayato Fukunishi, 8- Shota Fukui (c), 9- Ryota Tomoike, 10- Takumi Aoki, 11- Moeki Fukushi, 12- Taihei Kusaka, 13- Tomoki Osada, 14- Halatoa Vailea and 15- Keita Inayoshi. Reserves: 16- Terutaka Oka, 17- Yota Kamimori, 18- Sho Maeda, 19- Mamoru Harada, 20- Takamasa Maruo, 21- Kaisei Tamura, 22- Ryuto Fukuyama, 23- Futo Yamaguchi and 24- Ryosuke Kawase. Coach: Yoshitake Mizuma.

NB: Teams are allowed to list eleven reserves but only eight can be used.