England 35-15 Japan
Down To Earth With A Bump
For those who don’t really follow international rugby, this should have been a breeze for might England. After running the All Blacks so close, this was going to be easy…..
A Danny Care try within 5 minutes, surely this was the start of the steamroller. Japan, not the best known rugby nation, would seem to some to be the whipping boys here.
Japan though play with pride and Ford adding the conversion must have really got them fired up. Another home penalty given away, this time Tamura kicking for 3 points after 15 minutes. Japan took the lead against New Zealand and England suffered the same. Ryoto Nakamura with his try, conversion from Tamura 7- 10 to the visitors. An England penalty though soon cancelled out as Leitch gave Japan lead 15-10 half-time lead with his unconverted try.
The significance of this score line, was the outcome of them losing against New Zealand a fortnight before. Played at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, the outcome of this fixture was never in doubt. What was the surprise though to some, was the 31 points Japan put over the All Blacks.
Let’s put this into perspective, 34-36 was the All Blacks only loss in the 2018 Investec Rugby Championship, coming against South Africa. The Springboks are the only team to score more points against the All Blacks.
Second Half Recovery
George Ford landing a penalty 15 minutes into the second half, to narrow the gap. Mark Wilson scoring a try 5 minutes on, Ford again adding the conversion. George Ford pokes over a penalty just past the hour mark, to put the home team clear in the lead.
Quick hands sees Joe Cokanasiga with the debut score as once again Ford pops over the conversion. 30-15 and the game should be wrapped up now. Dylan Hartley scoring an unconverted try made sure of the win, making the score look more flattering that it could have been,
England seem to be playing 40 minutes of telling rugby and 40 minutes of mediocre stuff. Fitness was a deciding factor, especially the last 20 minutes. Granted Japan didn’t score in the second half, but their performance in the first half was great.