Australia vs Japan – USA Sevens Rugby

19 - 12
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Pool DSam Boyd Stadium03/03/201707:30 PMUSA Sevens

Playing with total disregard for the 16–0 all-time series deficit, Japan took the opening kick and began an attack that did not end until Naoki Motomura strolled under the post for the first try of the match. The simple conversion gave Japan the surprising 7–0 lead. By stealing the ensuing restart, Japan continued to apply pressure To an Australian squad looking a bit jetlagged, half a world away from home. Australia’s defense did just enough to get the ball back in the hands of Tom Lucas, who went the distance for the tying score. For the third kickoff in a row, Japan came up with possession. A pick from a ruck, gave Japan a strong attack to the Australia twenty-two, but a penalty gave possession back to the Australians who added a second try moments later through Lachie Anderson. The conversion fell wide of the its mark, keeping a lead just one converted try away. An Australian turnover at the Japanese ten, followed by a kick and chase, picked up at by Australia inside its own five gave Japan a chance before the half, but good defensive kicking followed by a strong chase, forced Japan to kick into touch to end the half.

In the first minute of the second half, Japan once more broke past the Australian twenty-two, but chose a dodgy attempt to kick over the defense. Remarkably, the decision appeared to work, but the chaser lost his feet and his shot at the ball in the process. Alan once more looked to have something going with an inside move by Rikiya Oishi and Katsuyuki Sakai. Australia managed to force a turnover and shook up Sakai in the process. Ultimately, Sakai would be the player in best position to resist the ensuing try, but was too banged up to stand a chance. A short while later, Japan once more worked into great attacking position, but a bad pass once more ended up in Australian hands. As the clock struck midnight on Japan’s Cinderella bid, there was still enough time for a consolation prize. Japan took full advantage, adding a final unconverted try. The 19–12 final margin, is the second closest in seventeen attempts by Japan. The closest before was 19–14 in Dubai earlier this season. It looks like Japan is edging closer to that first-ever win over Australia.