（Author: Azul, October 23, 2022）
The second match of the 2022 Rugby Japan National Team’s training and test match series, the second match of the series was held at the BEST DENKI STADIUM in Fukuoka Prefecture on October 8.
This time, the opponent was the same as last week, Australia A. And Japan XV lost the last match against Australia A. We hope we can make up for it in the second match this time.
Since the venue was in Fukuoka Prefecture, we took the bullet train on the way there and the plane on the way back.
Although the bullet train is fast, it took 5 hours from Tokyo to Fukuoka. I left my house at 6:30 a.m. and boarded a Shinkansen bound for Hakata from Shin-Yokohama Station. It was the first time for me to use the Shinkansen to get to Fukuoka. Since it was the first day of a three-day weekend, the Shinkansen was crowded.
The photo above was taken as we passed Himeji Station. In the background is the national treasure, Himeji Castle.
We arrived at Hakata Station around 12:30 pm.
The venue for the match that day was the BEST DENKI STADIUM near Fukuoka Airport. With the RWC 2023 coming up the following year, domestic interest is growing, so there was a long line for the shuttle bus to the stadium.
We were worried that we might miss the kick-off time because the buses did not come easily. However, the person in front of me in line told me that it would take more than 40 minutes to walk to the stadium, so I had no choice but to wait in line. Well, I managed to arrive at the stadium 30 minutes before the game started.
For RWC 2019, three matches were played at this stadium.
Let me give you an update information on the two teams playing on this day.
First, let’s take a look at the home team, JAPAN XV.
In the first match, the 202cm lock WAQA left the field injured, which is a bit of a downgrade. It is good news for the national team that FL HIMENO and WTB MATSUSHIMA, who are members of RWC 2019, have returned to the starting lineup.
Here is the starting lineup for the day.
＊＊ Player to watch ＊＊
Siosaia FIFITA. 187cm, 100kg, 23 years old. Position = WTB, CTB. After graduating from Tenri University, he worked for SUNWOLVES. He is a gem of a player. He is a player with speed, power, and a good eye for tactics, and while he is a WTB, he also contributes a lot to the defense. He is becoming a regular in the highly competitive Japanese WTB position.
And now, an update news on the Australia A team.
After winning the first game against JAPAN XV, this team has been playing the second game with almost the same members. The morale of the players is extremely high, as the players who performed outstandingly well on the Japan tour will be immediately called up by the Australian national team: Wallabies. Some people say that because it is an Australian selection team, it is an Australian second-string team, but it is more like SUPER RUGBY, where the contact is more intense than in Japan’s League One. The starting lineup for the day was as follows
The starting members for the day are as follows
＊＊ Player to watch ＊＊
Tom BANKS. 186 cm, 93 kg, 28 years old. Position =FB. He has been out of the Australian national team for a while due to injury, but has recovered enough to be able to play in games. He has been recovering from an injury that kept him out of the Australian national team for a while. When he recovers, we expect him to show his outstanding performance as a regular player for the Australian national team. He will also be joining Mie HONDA, Japan League One. We hope he will be able to play in front of Japanese fans.
Now, let the games begin.
The temperature that day was 23 degrees Celsius, reminiscent of early summer.
1 minute of the first half:
While Australia A was puzzled by the handling of the ball, JAPAN XV secured the ball. JAPAN XV then attacked first to the right and then to the left, The ball was caught by Australia A, but Japan XV managed to win the ball back and play it to the right. The ball was then passed to JAPAN XV’s WTB MATSUSHIMA. He received the ball near the 22m line on the right touchline and ran to the right center for the try. JAPAN XV failed to score the conversion goal after the try. They scored first to make the score 5-0.
9 minutes into the first half:
JAPAN XV set the pace early in the match. They made a series of attacks in the opposition’s territory, gradually advancing toward the opponent’s in-goal. Australia A was forced to commit an offside foul at 15 meters in front of the goal post. Japan XV opted to go for the PG. SO LEE made a steady kick to score the PG, and JAPAN XV made the score 8-0.
11 minutes into the first half:
From the kickoff after the PG, Australia A attacked into enemy territory, and JAPAN XV’s HIMENO stopped the onrushing team with a tackle, but he was drawn a foul for not releasing the ball, giving them the right to score a PG. This was scored by SH LONERGAN of Australia A made the score 8-3.
31 minutes into the first half:
Both teams traded kicks, and after several kicks were exchanged, Australia A’s FB CAMPBELL counter-attacked from his own territory and both teams then exchanged kicks several times again. Once caught in the JAPAN XV’s defensive net, Australia A won the tight battle and attacked again in succession. FB CAMPBELL received the ball again and ran down the left touchline to score a try in the left corner of the enemy’s in-goal. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, and the score was 8-10 in favor of Australia A.
Nevertheless, FB CAMPBELL is a very aggressive player who likes to counter attack. I hope he will be a rising star of RWC 2023 as a FB fantasista.
The first half ended with the score at this point, with Australia A leading by two goals.
Let the second half begin.
Player change: Australia A FB Jock CAMPBELL → Tom BANKS
4 minutes into the second half:
After the kickoff, JAPAN XV continued to attack in the enemy territory for a while. but from a scrum in Australia A ball, SH LONERGAN attempted to kick up, but JAPAN XV’s SH SAITO successfully charged and CTB RILEY picked up the spilled ball and passed to WTB FIFITA. He knocked on the ball.
After that, Australia A deployed to the left from their own territory, and FB BANKS made a great run and made a big gain, and got deep into the enemy territory. The ball was then passed to WTB PIETSCH, and in front of the in-goal BANKS received a return pass and he got past two JAPAN XV day defenders and scored a try in the middle of the left field. The conversion goal after the try was missed, giving Australia A 7 point lead with the score 8-15.
11 minutes into the second half:
The game was somewhat of a stalemate. Neither side was able to make any significant gains. Whenever the FW players tried to push forward with force, Australia A would stop them with a head-on collision. In any case, the atmosphere in the FW game was such that a try was unlikely to be scored.
However, JAPAN XV entered the enemy territory, and when the FWs took the game into a tight battle, they were able to score a try. However, when JAPAN XV entered the enemy territory and took the game into a tight battle, Australia A committed a “Not Roll Away” infringement. At this point, JAPAN XV chose to go for the PG. The goal was about 15 meters to the left of the goal post in the enemy territory. The SO LEE of JAPAN XV scored it. JAPAN XV was now up by 4 points, 11-15.
17 minutes into the second half.
Australia A moved into the enemy territory and continued to attack. When Australia A spread the ball out and connected with the outermost player, JAPAN XV either broke wide or scored a try. This was a major factor in JAPAN XV’s defensive system, as they were able to use a double tackle to stop the opposing team before they could get around the opposition’s players at the line. This is an internal team rule that the JAPAN XV defensive system uses a double tackle to stop the opposing team before they can get to a player on the other team’s line. If a player goes around to the outside, the back-up player will stop him, but basically, the team will try to crush the opponent’s attack without allowing it to develop to the outside. This approach is very physically demanding, and the defensive network tends to break down in the second half of the match. JAPAN XV’s defensive system is currently in the process of being perfected.
22 minutes into the second half:
After a period of sustained offensive pressure by Australia A, JAPAN XV was awarded a penalty kick deep into enemy territory after a foul by their opponents and JAPAN XV had the ball in their own lineout deep in enemy territory. Once the ball was secured, JAPAN XV took the lead. JAPAN XV attacked with a series of attacks centered on the rush of the FW. The Japan XV FL MICHAEL’s play stood out on this day, both in defense and in attack. He scored a try in the right center of the field. The conversion goal after the try was also successful, and the score was 18-15 to Japan XV.
25 minutes into the second half:
JAPAN XV continued to dominate the game in this period. JAPAN XV’s players continued to push forward, breaking through the opposing defense at key moments. At the 10-meter line, in the middle of the field, JAPAN XV hooker SAKATE, a hooker for JAPAN XV, broke through the back of the Australia A defense and advanced to the 22-meter line. The ball was then passed through the middle of the field at the 10-meter line. Australia A was fouled for offsides, and PG was chosen by JAPAN XV in this position. The SO LEE converted the PG and the score was 21-15.
35 minutes left in the second half
With less than 5 minutes remaining, JAPAN XV committed a series of penalties, allowing Australia A to push up the field in front of the enemy’s in-goal. XV almost got out of trouble a few times, but then they were penalized again.
In the end, Australia A pushed forward in a maul in front of the enemy in-goal and scored a try in the left center of the field.
At this point, the horn sounded to signal the last play of the game. At this point, the score was 21-20, and Australia A was only one point behind. SO EDMED was the man to score the final conversion goal for the comeback win. ECDMED scored from a difficult position on the left edge of the box.
With a come-from-behind win at the end of the game, Australia A looked jubilantand secured their place in the series.
Will JAPAN XV be able to make up for it in Round 3 on October 14?
I left for Tokyo from Fukuoka Airport on the same day.
The outward trip to Fukuoka took 5 hours by Shinkansen, but I arrived at Haneda Airport in 90 minutes by plane on the return trip. However, this BEST DENKI STADIUM was located right next to the airport, so it was very convenient.
I will not be able to watch the 3rd round of the tournament with Australia A on 10/14 because it will be held on Friday. The next game will be against ALL BLACKS on 10/29 at National Stadium in Tokyo. Advance tickets are already sold out.
＊＊ ＪＥＲＳＥＹ ＣＯＬＬＥＣＴＩＯＮ ６６ ＊＊
Replica of the 2007 HONG KONG SEVENS Italy national team jersey. Manufactured by LUCY (probably a Chinese company). Purchased for 1,100 yen on Mercari. Used. The Italian national team has not achieved remarkable results in 7-man rugby, but the design and color are good, and the price was cheap, so I did not hesitate to buy it. I am glad I bought this jersey, because it seems that many people paid attention to this jersey.
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