Last-gasp Wales beat Japan 33-30 in Principality Stadium thriller
By Paul Vinnell
Last Updated: 19/11/16 11:36pm
Sam Davies kicked the winning drop goal with nine seconds left as Wales beat Japan 33-30 in a thrilling match at the Principality Stadium.
The Cherry Blossoms, who stunned South Africa at last year's World Cup, were brave in defence and brilliant in attack as they drew level with six minutes left after a superb counter-attack put Amanaki Lotoahea over.
But Ospreys star Davies, winning just his second cap off the bench, calmly booted the winning points to deny Japan another famous result on British soil.
Japan started superbly, Yu Tamura kicking two penalties as Japan led 6-0, with his second successful shot at goal coming after Wales full-back Liam Williams was sin-binned for obstruction on Akihito Yamada.
Wales quickly hit back, shipping the ball wide and flanker Dan Lydiate crashed over to score his first try for Wales.
Jonathan Davies' half-break then set up midfield partner Jamie Roberts and Wales moved 14-6 up.
But Gareth Anscombe's pass in midfield bounced into space and Yamada pounced, sprinted over halfway and scoring under the posts to make it 14-13 at half-time.
Leigh Halfpenny added a penalty and on 52 minutes, Wales seemed to take total control when Alun Wyn Jones galloped through a huge hole in the Japan defence and when he was finally cut down the lock popped the ball up for Sam Warburton to dive over.
But Japan hit back immediately through a brilliant touchdown that owed everything to slick passing and rapid handling, with Kenki Fukuoka applying a stunning finish in limited space in the left-hand corner.
Tamura kicked the conversion, and Wales could not relax, having seen their advantage trimmed back to four points.
Another Halfpenny penalty took Wales seven points clear, yet Japan immediately reclaimed field position and they gained a penalty that Tamura landed.
The game was now nip and tuck, as another Halfpenny penalty made it 30-23 but back came defiant Japan yet again and Lotoahea touched down in thrilling style in the 74th minute after some superb hands down the right flank, and Tamura brilliantly and nervelessly converted to make it all square.
With the clock ticking down Alex Cuthbert knocked on with the line at his mercy - before Davies came up trumps amid a frantic finale.