Wallabies hold on for hard-fought victory over Japan

Sat, 23/10/2021, 06:30 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies faced off against a strong Japanese side in Oita

The Wallabies have extended their winning streak, pulling off a 32-23 win over a gutsy Japan in Oita.

In a disjointed performance at stages, the Wallabies managed to withhold the immense pressure from Japan to pull off the five tries to two victory.

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The visitors raced out to an early 14-3 lead before Japan would hit back through Lomano Lemeki as they hunt for their first win over Australia.

However, Lemeki would be sent for ten after a shoulder charge, with Taniela Tupou and Rob Leota making use of the space to cross for tries.

Despite a final push from Japan, debutant Connal McInerney sealed the win as they head for Europe

The Wallabies got off to a perfect start thanks to some Quade Cooper magic, with his trademark step and offload putting Tom Wright through a hole for first points.

Buoyed by a dominant set-piece, they would continue to press the line as hunt for points.

Despite losing Reece Hodge to a suspected pectoral injury, the visitors would race out to a 14-3 lead as his replacement Jordan Petaia finished off a backline move in the corner.

This kicked Japan into action who found success with the cross-field kick to winger Lomano Lemeki.

As the Wallabies showed signs of rust after nearly three weeks between tests, both sides would trade penalties as the Wallabies took a four-point advantage into the break.

After a half-time rev up by Dave Rennie, a crafty line-out play puts Folau Fainga'a into space, giving it to Taniela Tupou as the prop barged over for the try just two minutes after the break.

With Lomani Lemeki sent for ten after a shoulder charge, an incredible passage of play stunned Japan and extended the lead for the Wallabies.

Set up by a Len Ikitau offload, scrum half Nic White would re-gather his chip and chase as his halves partner Cooper throw an absurd behind-the-back flick pass to Fainga’a, with Rob Leota finishing it off.

The ghosts of Wallabies past came back to haunt them, gifting another intercept try in 2021 - this time to Ryoto Nakamura as the margin was reduced to seven.

As Japan hunted for their first-ever win over the Wallabies, clutch work from Rob Valetini got the much-needed turnover in the end, leading to a debut try for Connal McInerney to seal the win.

The win extends the current streak to five, the longest since the 2015 World Cup where a Michael Chieka-coached side made the final

WALLABIES 32

TRIES: Wright, Petaia, Tupou, Leota, McInerney

CONS: Cooper 2

PENS: Cooper

JAPAN 23

TRIES: Lemeki, Nakamura

CONS: Matsuda, Tamura

PENS: Matsuda 2, Tamura

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