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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Japan find Scots wanting
Japan: 11
Try: Onozawa
Pens: Hirose (2)
Scotland: 32
Tries: Paterson (2), Grimes, Taylor, Danielli
Conv: Paterson, Townsend
Pen: Paterson
Japan 11-32 Scotland

Japan came close to creating the 2003 Rugby World Cup's first shock result with a wonderful battling performance against Scotland on Sunday.

A second-half try from Hirotoki Onozawa pushed Japan to within four points of Ian McGeechan's men with half-an-hour remaining.

In Cardiff in 1999 the closest the Cherry Blossoms came to victory was a 33-12 defeat against Argentina.

Four years later, they have certainly improved immeasurably and competed well in every phase of play.

Tries from Chris Paterson (2), Stuart Grimes, Simon Taylor and Simon Danielli ultimately proved enough to see Scotland through.

But they will take little out of the game as they prepare for their next encounter against the USA.

In an exciting first half, Japan looked the better side in phases with number eight Takeomi Ito and centre Yukio Motoki both finding space in midfield.

We played very well particularly in defence but a few lapses cost us
Japanese coach Shogo Mukai
The Scots had started well when Paterson sprinted over after some patient build-up play.

His conversion gave Scotland a 7-0 lead, but their opponents quickly regrouped and began to threaten out wide through pacy wingers Daisuke Ohata and Onozawa.

Impressive fly-half Keiji Hirose pulled back three points with a deserved 14th minute penalty before Newcastle lock Grimes cruised over on the left for Scotland's second score.

Taylor and Paterson apart, Scotland looked sluggish in attack.

In contrast, Japan finished the half in confident mood, after Paterson and Hirose had again swapped penalties.

There was little change after the break, until impressive lock Jason White led by example with a strong run into the heart of the Japan midfield.

Again the chance came to nothing, however, with poor handling bringing the move to an end.

We've got a lot of work to do in the next eight days before we play the USA
Scotland captain Bryan Redpath
With 49 minutes on the clock and the scores unchanged, Japan replaced their half-back pairing of Hirose and Takashi Tsuji with Andrew Miller and Yuji Sonoda.

The Kiwi number 10 made an instant impression, coasting through some sloppy defending to send Scotland back into their 22.

From the ruck, Sonoda sent the ball out quickly with Onozawa sprinting over to the delight of the Townsville crowd.

Miller's kick never looked like going over, but the score clearly bruised the men in the blue shirts.

With 15 minutes remaining, Paterson and Taylor both touched down to grab the all-important bonus point.

Danielli then grabbed the game's final score after winning a foot race with Ohata.

But the scores gave the result a false sheen on what was ultimately a disappointing night for Scottish rugby union.


Scotland: B Hinshelwood; C Paterson, A Craig, J McLaren, K Logan; G Ross, B Redpath (capt); T Smith, R Russell, B Douglas, S Murray, S Grimes, J White, S Taylor, J Petrie.
Replacements: G Bulloch, G Kerr, R Beattie, M Leslie, M Blair, G Townsend, S Danielli.

Japan: T Matsuda; D Ohata, R Parkinson, Y Motoki, H Onozawa; K Hirose, T Tsuji; T Ito, T Miuchi (capt), N Okubo; A Parker, H Kiso; C Nam Oh, Masao Amino, Shin Hasegawa.
Replacements: M Yamamoto, M Sakata, H Tanuma, Y Watanabe, Y Sonoda, A Miller, T Kurihara.




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