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JAPAN 28 - 31 WORLD XV
Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka - Friday 26 October 2018
KO: 19:00 HT: 7-31 Att: 16,846
A superb second-half comeback from Japan almost saw the Brave Blossoms pick up their first-ever win against the World XV on Friday night at the newly refurbished Hanazono Rugby Stadium.
But the invitation side, coached by Panasonic Wild Knights boss Robbie Deans, held on for a 31-28 victory in a game that saw both teams score some spectacular tries despite the rain that got heavier the longer the game went on.
Flyhalf Lionel Cronje, who plies his trade for Toyota Verblitz, was in superb form for the World XV and it was he who opened the scoring.
Toni Pulu extended the lead following a flowing move before Kenki Fukuoka showed his pace to grab Japan’s first try in the 21st minute.
The rest of the half belonged to the invitation side though as Tevita Li and Jason Jenkins crossed the chalk to make it 24-7 at the break.
Li crossed again straight from the kick-off to start the second stanza before Japan started their fight back with a 90-metre intercept from Timothy Lafaele.
With the Japan bench providing a real impact there were further scores from Lomano Lava Lemeki and Ryoto Nakamura to make it a three-point game.
But the World XV defence held firm in the final minutes as Japan went close to snatching the game at the death, before a knock-on meters from the line brought up the final whistle.
15 Jamie Henry 14 Lomano Lava Lemeki 13 William Tupou 12 Timothy Lafaele 11 Kenki Fukuoka 10 Yu Tamura 9 Yutaka Nagare 1 Keita Inagaki 2 Yusuke Niwai 3 Hiroshi Yamashita 4 Wimpie van der Walt 5 Samuela Anise 6 MICHAEL LEITCH (C) 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki 8 Hendrik Tui BENCH: 16 Atsushi Sakate 17 Koki Yamamoto 18 Asaeli Ai Valu 19 Uwe Helu 20 Masakatsu Nishikawa 21 Isileli Nakajima 22 Fumiaki Tanaka 23 Rikiya Matsuda 24 Ryoto Nakamura 25 Ryohei Yamanaka
SCORERS T: Fukuoka, Lafaele, Lemeki, Nakamura C: Tamura (3), Matsuda
15 Nehe Milner-Skudder 14 Toni Pulu 13 Harold Vorster 12 Ma’a Nonu 11 Tevita Li 10 Lionel Cronje 9 ANDREW ELLIS (C) 1 Craig Millar 2 Adriaan Strauss 3 Hencus van Wyk 4 Sam Carter 5 Jason Jenkins 6 Jackson Hemopo 7 Dillon Hunt BENCH: 16 Ricky Riccitelli 17 Wyatt Crockett 18 Ben Alexander 19 Willem Britz 20 Nili Latu 21 Augustine Pulu 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias 23 Keisuke Moriya 24 Corne Fourie 25 Ben Gunter
SCORERS T: Li (2), Cronje, Pulu, Jenkins C: Cronje (3)
Referee: Brendon Pickerill Asst Referees: Mike Fraser, Damon Murphy TMO: Aaron Paterson
NEW ZEALAND 37 - 20 AUSTRALIA
BLEDISLOE CUP 3
Nissan Stadium, Yokohama - Saturday 27 October 2018
KO: 20:05 HT: 17-10 Att: 46,143
THE Qantas Wallabies fell to New Zealand 20-37 in the third and final Bledisloe Cup Test of 2018, in an action-packed game at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Japan.
The Wallabies trailed by just seven points at the main break but a second half clinic from the world’s number one side helped push the margin out by full-time.
Australia started brightly in Yokohama as Israel Folau scythed through to put the Wallabies on the attack, but New Zealand soon clicked into gear as they dominated possession and territory throughout the half. It eventually wore Australia down as Liam Squire found himself in space to open the score for New Zealand.
Kurtley Beale nailed a long penalty goal to narrow the margin but it did not last long as Beauden Barrett kicked one of his own before Kieran Read barged over from a scrum on Australia’s line to make the score 17-3 nearing half-time.
A brilliant piece of play off the ensuing kick-off earned Australia possession though and they were quick to strike as Sefa Naivalu scored in the corner to pull the Wallabies back into the contest at the break, 17-10.
The Wallabies took the game to New Zealand early in the second half and a Bernard Foley penalty goal after a period of sustained pressure brought the margin back to just four points with 30 minutes left to play.
A slick backline move from New Zealand gave them some breathing space with just over 20 minutes remaining, as Barrett switched the point of attack only to receive the ball back from teammate Rieko Ioane to sprint down the left wing for his five-pointer.
A yellow card to replacement hooker Tolu Latu made Australia’s task a difficult one and New Zealand were quick to capitalise thanks to an intercept try for winger Ben Smith.
With the margin pushing out to 20 points, Australia launched a series of attacks on New Zealand’s line and Israel Folau stepped his way through the broken defence to score under the posts with five minutes to go.
It was not to be for the Wallabies though, as Rieko Ioane caught them on the counter-attack to seal a 17-point win for the defending World Cup champions.
15 Damian McKenzie 14 Ben Smith 13 Ryan Crotty 12 Sonny Bill Williams 11 Rieko Ioane 10 Beauden Barrett 9 TJ Perenara 8 KIERAN READ (C) 7 Ardie Savea 6 Liam Squire 5 Scott Barrett 4 Sam Whitelock 3 Owen Franks 2 Codie Taylor 1 Joe Moody BENCH: 16 Nathan Harris 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe 18 Nepo Laulala 19 Brodie Retallick 20 Matt Todd 21 Aaron Smith 22 Richie Mo’unga 23 Anton Lienert-Brown
SCORERS T: Squire, Read, Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith, Ioane C: Beauden Barrett (3) P: Beauden Barrett (2)
15 Dane Haylett-Petty 14 Sefa Naivalu 13 Israel Folau 12 Kurtley Beale 11 Marika Koroibete 10 Bernard Foley 9 Will Genia 8 David Pocock 7 MICHAEL HOOPER (C) 6 Ned Hanigan 5 Rob Simmons 4 Izack Rodda 3 Allan Alaalatoa 2 Folau Fainga'a 1 Scott Sio BENCH: 16 Tolu Latu 17 Sekope Kepu 18 Taniela Tupou 19 Rory Arnold 20 Jack Dempsey 21 Nick Phipps 22 Samu Kerevi 23 Tom Banks
SCORERS T: Naivalu, Folau C: Foley (2) P: Beale, Foley Latu
Referee: Romain Poite Asst Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Rasta Rasivhenge TMO: Marius Jonker
NB KO times above are local; not all Tier 2 matches are covered in full