Wallabies Jump All Over Japan
Plenty Of Positives For Home Side Despite Heavy Defeat
Japan coach Jamie Joseph tried to put a positive spin on Saturday's big loss to Australia at Nissan Stadium Yokohama.
“It's important to remember the Australians have just finished playing the Rugby Championship (against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina),” he said. “Our players have been playing the Top League and had just eight days in camp. So in terms of what we want to achieve in the long term, they did very well.”
The Brave Blossoms were beaten 63-30 at the venue for the final of Rugby World Cup 2019, their seventh straight defeat against a Tier-1 nation in the past two seasons.
As Jospeh pointed out, Saturday's performance saw the worst and best of the home team.
“It was a game off two halves,” he said. “In the first our discipline was poor, we gave penalties away, got punished at the scrum and couldn't get going.”
“In the second we showed what we can do when we create pressure on the opposition and then play our type of rugby.”
Played in front of 43,621, the biggest crowd to ever watch a Brave Blossoms test in Japan, Joseph’s side were blown away in the opening 40 minutes, giving up up five tries as they were unable to deal with the power and pace of the Wallabies.
Tevita Kuridrani touched down twice and there were further five-pointers from Samu Kerevi, Henry Speight and Tatafu Polota-Nau, all of which were converted by Reece Hodge.
Japan's response was a solitary penalty goal from Rikiya Matsuda as the Wallabies led 35-3 at the break.
“The mindset and attitude was very good from the start,” said Australia coach Michael Cheika.
With many in the crowd upset at the beer running out well before halftime – not to mention the length of lines for food at a stadium that will need to greatly improve on its own performance by the time RWC 2019 kicks off – it was important the second half was better.
And Japan started and finished it well enough to give some hope for the future from a playing point of view.
Wimpie van der Walt powered over five minutes after the restart and Matsuda kicked the conversion and a penalty.
Matsuda was to kick another penalty and Amanaki Lelei Mafi and debutant Kazuki Himeno both touched down at the end to ensure Japan scored 27 second-half points.
Sadly for the hosts, though, the Aussies added four tries of their own in the second stanza through Kerevi, Kuridrani, Nick Phipps and Rob Simmons.
“Japan dominated the last 20 minutes and put us under a lot of pressure,” said Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.
Japan now head to Europe to play Tonga and France, knowing they will need at least one win to stop the ever-mounting criticism of their tactics.
"Obviously, against Tier-1 teams one of the questions I keep asking are, are we better off preparing for the World Cup playing weaker teams?" Joseph said.
"The answer to that is obviously no, we are better prepared when we play the stronger teams. Therefore when we play the stronger teams we need an element of patience from our public and the fans."
- JPR Hastings: November 4th 2017
Australia (63) - (30) Japan
Photos: John Gunning・Chris Pfaff - Oct 21st 2017: Yokohama International Stadium