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Sunday, 3 June, 2001, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Red-faced Wales slump to tour defeat
Suntory celebrate a famous win against Wales
Suntory celebrate a famous win against Wales
Suntory 45-41 Wales

Wales crashed to an embarrassing defeat in the first game of their Japan tour against local club champions Suntory.

The relatively inexperienced Wales side produced a workmanlike performance in the first-half and took advantage of a series of mistakes by the Suntory backs to lead 24-10.

But Wales were later stunned by Suntory's late blitz which proved decisive.

Four second-half tries by the home side turned the game around as Wales wilted in the strong Tokyo sun.

A late Jones penalty was not enough to save Wales
Fijian centre Alfred Uluinayau provided the momentum with surging runs and Wales were often beaten for pace as Suntory moved the ball well along the back line.

Coach Lynn Howells gave opportunities for younger players to stake a claim for a place in the two forthcoming tests against Japan.

Although Bath scrum-half Gavin Cooper showed touches of class, Suntory were equals in every department.

A penalty goal from captain Stephen Jones just inside the Suntory half three minutes from the end put Wales 41-38 ahead, and appeared to have saved their blushes.

But there were scenes of jubilation at the Prince Chichibu stadium as substitute Junichi Hojo burst through the centre to touch down and cause an upset.


Suntory (17) 45
Tries: Sawaki 2, Kurihara, Uluinayau, Onozawa, Hojo. Cons: Kurihara 6. Pens: Kurihara.

Wales (24) 41
Tries: A Jones, S Jones 2, J Robinson 2. Cons: S Jones 5. Pens: S Jones 2.


Suntory: Hasegawa, Sakata, Motoyoshi, Hayano, Washington, N Okubo, Gen, Saito, Tanaka, Sawaki, Kurihara, Uluinayau, Ieremia, Yoshida, Onozawa.
Replacements: Nakamura, N Okubo, Hoshikawa, Kitagawa, Nagatomo, Yamaguchi, Hojo.

Wales: R Williams, G Thomas, J Robinson, S Jones, C Morgan, G Henson, G Cooper, B Evans, A Lewis, D Jones, A Jones, c Stephens, S Nelson, G Lewis, A Lloyd.
Replacements: C Jones, A Moore, R Sowden-Taylor, D Peel, A Durston, T Shanklin.

Att: 13,000

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03 Jun 01 |  Wales
Howells searches for answers
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