Japan, beaten by Italy last weekend, came back from 14-8 down at half time to defeat the USA Eagles 20-14 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo on Sunday night.
The result may well be heartening for Japan after their strong showing against Italy in Italy but for the Eagles it is a third defeat in as many weeks after two defeats away and at home against Canada. This cannot inspire confidence.
Japan have the tougher World Cup pool which contains New Zealand, France, Tonga and Canada. The USA's a bit easier, including Australia, Ireland, Italy and newboys Russia.
The humidity was high on Sunday night, the ball slippery as a result. But there were three tries in the first half.
Alisi Tupuailai broke and set up a try for fullback Taihei Ueda. 5-0 after 7 minutes. The USA then took the lead straight from the kick-off when Kevin Swiryn scored the first of his tries, converted by flyhalf Nese Malifa. 7-5 after 8 minutes.
New Zealander Ryan Nicholas put Japan back in the lead with a penalty. 8-7 after 11 minutes, but just before half-time Swiryn scored again to give his side a 14-8 lead at the break.
First captain Takashi Kikutani and then wing Takehisa Usuzuki scored tries in the second half, the second again after a strong break by Tupuailai.
The Eagles fought back and were camped in the Japan 22 but without being able to add to their score.
The winning coach was less impressed by the game than the losing coach!
Japan's John Kirwan said: "It was a so-and-so game, but we won. We defended very well. We couldn't play well in set-pieces in the first half, but we were able to level up in the second half. We played fast, we kept the ball."
The Eagles' coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: "It was a good, tough game. I think Japan played very well. Maybe they were disappointed that they didn't probably score more points.
"But we defended very well, particularly in the second half. If we would have more time with the ball in the second half, maybe we could have won the game, but we spent too much time without the ball."
Tries: Ueda, Kikutani, Usuzuki
For the USA:
Tries: Swiryn 2
Cons: Malifa 2
Japan: 15 Taihei Ueda, 14 Takehisa Usuzuki, 13 Alisi Tupuailai, 12 Ryan Nicholas, 11 Hirotoki Onozawa, 10 Murray Williams, 9 Tomoki Yoshida, 8 Takashi Kikutani (captain), 7 Tadasuke Nishihara, 6 Sione Vatuvei, 5 Luke Thompson, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Nozomu Fujita, 2 Yusuke Aoki, 1 Naoki Kawamata,
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 18 Toshizumi Kitagawa, 19 Itaru Taniguchi, 20 Atsushi Hiwasa, 21 Koji Taira, 22 Shaun Webb
USA Eagles: 15 Blaine Scully, 14 Kevin Swiryn, 13 Tai Enosa, 12 Paul Emerick, 11 James Paterson, 10 Nese Malifa, 9 Mike Petri (captain), 8 JJ Gagiano, 7 Louis Stanfill, 6 Patrick Danahy, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 Scott LaValla, 3 Eric Fry, 2 Phillip Thiel, 1 Mike Macdonald
Replacements: 16 Chris Biller, 17 Shawn Pittman, 18 Nic Johnson, 19 Ryan Chapman, 20 Tim Usasz, 21 Roland Suniula, 22 Andrew Suniula
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
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