Rugby: Japan Gave Gritty Performance but Fell 29-20 to Scotland

Japan’s Brave Blossoms suffered the second loss of their autumn tour of Europe on Saturday, falling 29-20 to Scotland.

The hosts ran in four tries, three before the break at Murrayfield, and led for all but a few minutes in the first half after Rikiya Matsuda put Japan up 6-5 with two penalty goals.

After giving up the four unanswered tries, Japan made inroads late in the second half on a 64th-minute Tevita Tatafu five-pointer. Matsuda’s fifth penalty goal, with eight minutes to go, trimmed Scotland’s lead to 26-20, but Finn Russell kicked a late penalty to put the game out of reach.

Duhan van der Merwe crossed the whitewash in the sixth minute to put Scotland up 5-0.

Minutes after Matsuda’s boot gave Japan the lead, Stuart Hogg scored a 28th-minute try and Darcy Graham another with Russell adding the extras to both as Scotland took a 19-6 lead into the changing rooms.

Russell’s conversion after Stuart McInally’s 55th-minute try gave Scotland a 26-12 lead before the Brave Blossoms made it interesting.

Japan opened their tour with a 60-5 drubbing at the hands of Ireland on November 6th before beating Portugal 38-25 last Sunday.

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