Test Match No. 342: Lipovitan D Tour 2017, game 2

日本語 Français Photo Journal
26 November 2017; G: France (U Arena); R: Luke Pearce (ENG)
△Japan 23-23 France△
26/11/2017, European tour 2017 2nd Match
Japan 23 France 23
U Arena, France
Half-time: 8-13
Referee: Luke Pearce (ENG)
Crowd: 23,000
JAPAN: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lemeki Lomano Lava 13 Timothy Lafaele (23 Ryoto Nakamura 78), 12, Harumichi Tatekawa (22 Sione Teaupa 61), 11 Kenki Fukuoka (23 Yoshikazu Fujita 18), 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare (21 Fumiaki Tanaka 61), 8 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 7 Michael Leitch (capt), 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 Shinya Makabe (19 Yoshitaka Tokunaga 61), 4 Wimpie Van Der Walt (20 Fetuani Lautaimi 61), 3 Jiwon Koo (18 Asaeli Ai Valu 56), 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki (17 Shintaro Ishihara 68).
Reserves: 16 Atsushi Sakate.
Coach: Jamie Joseph.
Tries: Horie, Timothy Lafaele, Asaeli Ai Valu; Conversions: Tamura; Penalty Goals: Tamura (2).
FRANCE: 15 Scott Spedding (23 Hugo Bonneval 49), 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Damian Penaud (22 Mathieu Bastareaud 46), 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Gabriel Lacroix (61, 71), 10 François Trinh-Duc, 9 Baptiste Serin (21 Antoine Dupont 67), 8 Louis Pcamoles (20 Fabien Sanconnie 75), 7 Sekou Macalou, 6 Judicael Cancorlet, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Romain Taofifenua (19 Paul Jedrasiak 40), 3 Rabah Slimani (18 Daniel Kotze 73), 2 Guilhem Guirado (capt) (16 Camille Chat 55), 1 Jefferson Poirot (17 Sebastien Taofifenua 50).
Coach: Jacques Brunel.
Tries: Rabah Slimani, Gabriel Lacroix; Conversions: François Trinh-Duc (2); Penalty Goals: François Trinh-Duc (3).
Yellow Cards: Gabriel Lacroix (61, sin-bin).
Scoring sequence (Japan's score shown first): 5min-Pen Japan, Yu Tamura-3-0, 14min-Pen France, François Trinh-Duc-3-3, 24min-try Japan, Shota Horie; conv. Yu Tamura (missed)-8-3, 30min-Pen France, François Trinh-Duc-8-6, 40min-try France, Rabah Slimani; conv. François Trinh-Duc-8-13, 42min-try Japan, Timothy Lafaele; conv. Yu Tamura-15-13, 49min-try France, Gabriel Lacroix; conv. François Trinh-Duc-15-20, 64min-Pen Japan, Yu Tamura-18-20, 68min-Pen France, François Trinh-Duc-18-23, 73min-try Japan, Asaeli Ai Valu; conv. Yu Tamura (missed)-23-23.

In the match against France, which was the culmination of this season, Japan showed an even more improved status. After they got their rhythm from the energetic defense against the physically bigger opponents, following a penalty goal in the 5th minute of the match, in the 24th minute, hooker Shota Horie scored a try with excellent consecutive attacks. After that, Japan fought against France more than evenly, silencing the France fans who filled the stand. “There is no such a team who moves the ball so quickly in the Top 14. France's players are confused and don't know how to handle it.” (a comment by a Japanese person who lives in France and had watched the Top 14). In the 73rd minute, Japan attacked in front of the goal with flanker Kazuki Himeno's powerful dash, and prop Asaeli Ai Valu went across the try line to make the score tie. The game ended without additional points 23-23. Unfortunately, Japan was not able to get their first win against France, however, the fact that they drew, which was ultimately close to a win in an away match, was applaudable enough.
Japan's players showing feelings of achievement and fulfillment on their face and France's players falling on their knees and dropping their heads, described the details of this match clearly.
■ Head coach James Joseph
“Two test matches in France were 1 win and 1 draw. It was a really good tour. The result of the matches this time could have been different too. Even while a draw is disappointing since the 23 players of the Japan team played assuming they were going to win, according to the details of the match, Japan could have won. I'm satisfied with the fact that we were able to fight against France strongly from the beginning until the end of the match. There was a scene of panic while we were attacking, which is a challenge for the future. I hope to make the Japan team able to finish a match like this winning.”
■ The captain Michael Leitch
“In today's match, both teams had several scenes in which they lost a chance. Japan also had a chance but failed to score. Even while the match was a good one, and we can be proud of being considered for the Rugby World Cup two years later, I'm not satisfied. We are going to reflect about the chance we missed in today's match, and use it for improvement in the future. I'm proud of the fact that we were able to keep an attacking mind set from when the match started until the end.”