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- International Match
- 8th Jun 2013
- KO 06:00
- Ground: Hanazono Field
- Att: 15,000
Wales came from behind to scrape a 22-18 victory over Japan in the first Test
A young Wales outfit came from behind to scrape an unconvincing 22-18 victory over Japan in the first Test in Osaka on Saturday.
Japan outscored their visitors by two tries to one, but Wales did just enough with a strong second half showing to get over the line.
Wales had looked to set the early pace but it was Japan who took the lead in the 14th minute. Owen Williams tackled Craig Wing but was unfortunate to inadvertently block Harumichi Tatekawa's kick as he retreated to hand Ayumu Goroumaru his first attempt at goal which he swept over.
The full-back doubled the lead on 20 minutes when Wales paid the price for a series of penalties and number eight Rob McCusker was sent to the sin bin.
But a water break rather stalled Japan's momentum and shortly after the restart Dan Biggar kicked a brace of penalties, as well as pushing a third effort wide to the right, to level the scores before the half-hour.
A well-worked move from the Japanese lineout - which had been coached during the week by former England captain Steve Borthwick - then brought the hosts' first try as Michael Broadhurst scored in space. Goroumaru missed the conversion and would also miss with a penalty attempt early in the second half.
Biggar on target
Instead Biggar converted his third penalty in the 47th minute, though Wales were fortunate not to fall further behind when they were again caught offside, only for Goroumaru to push an effort wide for a third time.
Wales thought they had scored their first try on 58 minutes but Dafydd Howells put his foot in touch before releasing his pass to Liam Williams.
However, Biggar landed his fourth penalty moments later to give the visitors the lead for the first time in the game on the hour mark.
Wales grew in confidence and when Liam Williams linked up in midfield with new caps Emyr Phillips and Owen Williams, Harry Robinson raced clear from 25 metres for his second try in as many international appearances - Biggar converting for a 19-11 lead.
Japan refused to give up and replied with a well-worked try for right wing Fujita ten minutes from time following a series of attacks and some smart handling by Yuu Tamura, Tatekawa and Sau.
Goroumaru recovered from his earlier misses to steer his conversion between the posts from out wide and reduce the Welsh lead to a single point. But replacement Rhys Patchell's 78th minute penalty ensured Wales held out for victory.