The Australian U20’s have won their second match of the Oceania Rugby Junior Championship, despite a scare by a strong Japanese side.
The lead changed eight times as both sides wrestled for supremacy, but ultimately Australia was able to hold out for the win, 47-31.
Australian Head Coach Adrian Thompson was disappointed with the performance.
“I am relieved we had the patience to eventually win the match.
“However there were many elements of our performance that were lacklustre that we must rectify.
“We’ll put that win behind us and get back into training.
“Full credit to Japan who really wanted the win today.”
The Australian U20’s face their toughest test to date in 2015 when they play New Zealand on Saturday 9 May at Bond University, kicking off at 3pm.
The match will be live streamed through www.rugby.com.au.
The Australian side were slow out of the blocks against the Japanese despite registering the points of the match through a successful penalty from James Dalgleish.
The Japanese broke the Australian defensive line to place themselves in the Australian defensive zone. The Japanese forwards showed patience as they ground away the Australian defence to eventually crash over for the first try of the match.
The successful conversion by fullback Ryuji Noguchi brought the score to 3-7 in favour of the visitors.
Australia clearly frustrated by some errors were unable to find their momentum in the face of a strong defence from Japan.
Australia continued to probe at the defence and a line break from flyhalf James Dalgleish created the opportunity for Australia to score their first try through lock Lukhan Lealaiauloto-Tui, giving the Australia the lead 10-7 following Dalgleish’s successful conversion.
Japan again infringed at the breakdown within kicking range which Dalgleish gratefully accepted taking the score to 13-7.
The match see-sawed again as the rapid Japanese backs broke the Australian defensive lines allowing Kosuke Urabe to finish a great for Japan.
The successfully conversion gave Japan the lead taking the score 13-14.
A great run from Tyson Davis through the middle of the Japanese gave an attacking opportunity to Australia as Aaron Pleash ran onto the ball to off load to barnstorming Jack Redden who scored beneath the posts.
It was relief for Australia at halftime to retain the lead 20-14.
Australia earned points in the third minute of the second half when Japan illegally took out scrumhalf, Harry Nucifora.
Dalgleish slotted the conversion from just short half way to take Australia’s lead to 23-14.
With a handling error in Australia’s defensive zone creating a turn over for Japan and powerful scrum from the young Cherry Blossoms allowed number eight Kosuke Urabe to score in the corner.
Continuing his accuracy with the boot Ryuji Noguchi slotted the conversion to bring the score to 23-21.
The Australian side were unable to move out of their own half as Japan continued the heavy pressure on the Australian defence.
A successful penalty kick from Noguchi changed the lead again to 23-24 in favour of Japan.
With fresh troops coming into the match for Australia, a line break from Andrew Kellaway created an attacking opportunity for the men in gold.
Harry Nucifora finished the effort as he dived from the base of the ruck to score underneath the posts taking the score to 30-24.
Australia was again caught off guard in defence as Kosuke Makisi broke down the right flank to score in the corner.
With the pressure on him and the Gold Coast sun blaring into his eyes Ryuji Noguchi calming slotted the conversion to give Japan the lead 30-31.
Although tested, Australia did not panic as they patiently pounded the Japanese line. Eventually Australia was rewarded with Lukhan Lealaiauloto- Tui powering over for his second try of the match.
Flyhalf Andrew Deegan converted the try to take the score to 37-31 in favour of Australia.
With minutes remaining in the match Australia camped in in Japan’s half with a try to Alex Newsome finally securing the win for Australia 44-31.
A penalty in the last minute to Andrew Deegan added some space in the scores to take the match to 47-31.
Australia’s next match is against New Zealand on Saturday 9 May at Bond University on the Gold Coast.
Australia 47 (tries; Lukhan Lealaiauloto- Tui 2, Jack Redden, Harry Nucifora, Alex Newsome cons; James Dalgleish 2, Andrew Deegan 3 pens; James Dalgleish 3, Andrew Deegan ) defeated Japan 31 (Tevita Tatafu, Kosuke Urabe 2, Kosuke Makisi tries; Ryuji Noguchi 4 cons; pens)