Japan overwhelmed a hapless Russian side with a huge second half after stumbling to a half time draw. Male Sa’u scored two cracking individual tries in a starring midfield role.
JAPAN 40 vs 13 RUSSIA
Friday, November 15, 19:30 GMT, Colwyn Bay
The Cherry Blossoms looked well in control early, scoring an early penalty through the boot of Ayumu Goromaru, but Kosei Ono’s attacking kick was charged down by Vasili Artemyev and followed up by Vladimir Ostroushko to score a try under the posts completely against the run of play. Ramil Gaisin converted and the Bears had an unlikely lead after 13 minutes played.
Japan wasted no time replying however, as a perfectly worked catch-and-drive from a lineout yielded an easy score for Hendrik Tui. Goromaru slotted the extras and like that the Russian lead had evaporated within the space of two minutes. The Bears came back with Gaisin taking advantage of Japanese indiscipline with two penalties to push his team ahead, but Goromaru tied it up with a kick of his own to make the scores level at the half.
Some heavy words must have been spoken in the Japanese dressing room at the break as they had a far more determined look about them to open the second forty. Michael Broadhurst went over from close range to kick things off and then persistent infringements from Russia at the breakdown resulted in a yellow card for Artemyev. With the Bears defense already looking shaky and now a man down, Japan took full advantage with Goromaru slotting a penalty before Sa’u took centre stage scoring twice to put the game out of reach.
Captain Toshiaki Hirose closed out the game with a score of his own as Japan enjoyed a 27-0 second half performance. Russian coach Kingsley Jones will have to work some magic if he is to rehabilitate his side in the week ahead of the game against the Americans at Allianz Park. Japan meanwhile will head to Madrid, currently embattled in a garbage strike, where they end their tour against Spain in the national stadium next Saturday.
03 mins – A. Goromaru pen 3-0
12 mins – V. Ostrousko try 3-5
13 mins – R. Gaisin con 3-7
15 mins – H. Tui try 8-7
16 mins – A. Goromaru con 10-7
19 mins – R. Gaisin pen 10-10
23 mins – R. Gaisin pen 10-13
26 mins – A. Goromaru pen 13-13
43 mins – M. Broadhurst try 18-13
44 mins – A. Goromaru con 20-13
47 mins – A. Goromaru pen 23-13
49 mins – M. Sa’u try 28-13
57 mins – M. Sa’u try 33-13
58 mins – A. Goromaru con 35-13
66 mins – T. Hirose try 40-13
46 mins – V. Artemyev yellow (team infringements)
A. Goromaru; T. Hirose (capt.), M. Sa’u, Y. Tamura (S. Shimomura 68), Y. Fujita (A. Yamaha 68); K. Ono, F. Tanaka (A. Hiwasa 62); M. Mikami (H. Hirashima 66), S. Horie (H. Yuhara 74), K. Hatakeyama (H. Yamashita 48-53, 59); H. Ono (S. Makabe 50), L. Thompson; H. Tui, M. Broadhurst, K. Holani (J. Ives 58).
R. Gaisin (D. Simplikevich 65); V. Artemyev, D. Gerasimov (I. Galinovski 62), A. Makovetski, V. Ostroushko; S. Sugrobov, A. Ryabov (A. Shcherban 77); G. Tsnobiladze, V. Tsnobiladze (V. Korshunov 45), E. Pronenko (I. Zykov 45); A. Voytov (capt.) (D. Antonov 59), A. Garbuzov (A. Fatakhov 58); A. Khudyakov, P. Butenko, V. Gresev.
Referee: L. Pearce (RFU)
Assistants: R. Thomas (WRU) & A. Davies (WRU)