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Rugby | International Rugby

Wales eke out win against Japan



Harry Robinson's second-half try and Dan Biggar's accurate boot gave an inexperienced Wales side a narrow 22-18 victory against Japan in the first test of the two-match series in Osaka on Saturday.

With 15 of their senior internationals touring with the British and Irish Lions in Australia, the young Wales side were outscored two tries to one but they clawed their way back as Asian champions Japan paid the price for missing three kicks.

On a hot and humid day, the hosts, who set the early pace, scored two tries in the match through Michael Broadhurst and Yoshikazu Fujita.

Fullback Ayumu Goromaru converted one and kicked two penalties for Japan but was off the target on three occasions, which proved costly in the end.

"Test-match rugby is all about taking your opportunities," Japan coach Eddie Jones told reporters. "We had opportunities to score and didn't and that's why we came second.

"It was a game we could have won. We weren't as physical as we needed to be and allowed Wales to win their ball too easily once they changed tactics in the second half."

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The hosts went into the break leading 11-6 but Biggar's four pinpoint penalty kicks kept the Six-Nations champions in the contest. Biggar also converted after Liam Williams' pass set Robinson free for their only try.

Wing Fujita rekindled Japan's hopes with the team's second try, converted by Goromaru, but a late penalty from replacement Rhys Patchell calmed Wales' nerves and sealed a narrow win for the tourists.

"We didn't deal well with the conditions in the first half," Wales coach Robin McBryde, who is standing for Warren Gatland while the head coach tours with the Lions, said.

"But we showed some real grit and character to come through in the second half."

The teams meet again on next Saturday for the final test in Tokyo.

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