Japan coach Jamie Joseph said he was delighted with his side’s 34-17 win over Italy at Oita Bank Dome, particularly the second-half effort that saw the visitors limited to just three points.
“The team have worked very hard the last two years to get to a test match of this level and caliber and perform that way,” he said. “It was a real mental game in the second half and I was very pleased with that part of the performance.”
Japan scored two tries in either half and captain Michael Leitch said it was the Brave Blossoms’ ability to take their chances that proved the difference between the two teams.
“That was test match rugby – this is what it’s all about. We had pressure moments during the game which we capitalized on. I’m proud of the team and how they handled the game.”
Italy coach Conor O’ Shea agreed saying, “Our biggest issue is we need to finish. We did some good things but let ourselves down.”
His captain Leonardo Ghiraldini also said Italy would need to improve if they were to beat Japan next week in Kobe.
“Obviously we weren’t good enough today. It was a tough match and Japan played really well so congratulations to them. We have many areas to improve on but first of all in defence because they scored too many tries.”
Joseph said he was expecting the Italians would learn from their defeat.
“They put us under a lot of pressure in the wide channels. They created a lot of rugby from nothing and put us under pressure. We know it will be even tougher next week.”
The two teams meet again in Kobe next week before Japan finish off their summer test series with a game against Georgia on June 23.
JAPAN vs Italy Place: Noevir Stadium Date: 16 June,2018 Buy Ticket
JAPAN vs Georgia Place: Toyota Stadium Date: 23 June,2018 Buy Ticket