Japan finish with a flourish
Japan finish with a flourishSHARE
Japan finished with a flourish in the final round of the Pacific Nations Cup on Sunday.
They ensured they finished fourth when they beat the United States 38-20 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo.
Fiji won the PNC series, with 16 points from their four matches, followed by Canada (13), Tonga (10), Japan (nine) and the United States (one).
"I thought we played some really good rugby today [Sunday]," Japan coach Eddie Jones said.
"If we were a bit sharper we could have scored a few more points but I'm very pleased."
Yoshikazu Fujita opened the scoring in the sixth minute following good hands by Takashi Kikutani and Shota Horie. Ayumu Goromaru continued his good form of the previous week by knocking over the conversion.
Chris Wyles brought the teams level though when he converted his own try in the 15th minute following a period of play in which possession changed hands several times.
Both sides were playing their third Test in eight days and there were plenty of missed tackles, one of which saw Eric Fry hand the United States the lead in the 20th minute.
Japan hit back, though, with Male Sa'u crossing in the 24th minute only for Wyles to kick a penalty seven minutes later as the Eagles led 15-12.
Japan, however, regained the lead three minutes before half time when Hendrik Tui powered through a ruck and sprinted over, Goromaru's conversion making it 19-15 at the break.
Toshikai Hirose scored three minutes after the restart as Japan came out firing, and the forwards were rewarded with a penalty try seven minutes later after the US scrum repeatedly collapsed.
Fumiaki Tanaka scored Japan's final try in the 61st minute, just reward for a good performance in both attack and defence, while Luke Hume grabbed a consolation effort for the Eagles.
"We played some of our best rugby in the last five games in the first half, but we needed to play like that for 80 minutes and we couldn't do it," said Eagles captain Todd Clever, who was playing his 50th test for his country in what has become his home stadium since he started playing in Japan.
Tries: Fujita, Sau, Tui, Hirose, Penalty try, Tanaka
Cons: Goromaru 4
Tries: Wyles, Fry, Hume
Japan: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Toshiaki Hirose (captain), 13 Male Sau, 12 Craig Wing, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Takashi Kikutani, 7 Michael Broadhurst, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Shoji Ito, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Yusuke Nagae, 18 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Justin Ives, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Yoshikazu Fujita.
United States: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Luke Hume, 13 Adam Siddall, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 James Paterson, 10 Toby L'Estrange, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Todd Clever (captain), 7 Peter Dahl, 6 Scott Lavalla, 5 Louis Stanfill, 4 Brian Doyle, 3 Eric Fry, 2 Chris Biller, 1 Shawn Pittman.
Replacements: 16 Zach Fenoglio, 17 Nick Wallace, 18 Phil Thiel, 19 Cam Dolan, 20 Liam Murphy, 21 Robbie Shaw, 22 Seamus Kelly, 23 Blaine Scully.
Referee: Greg Garner (England)