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Monday, March 27, 2023

Big second half helped France top Japan 42-23 in first Test

AICHI, Japan ( Associated Press) – France broke the 13-13 halftime deadlock, trying four second-half to beat Japan 42-23 in the first of two rugby tests on Saturday.

Japan got off to a good start and may be on their way to another giant-killing performance when they took on the six-nation champions in the first half.

But winger Damien Penaud made two attempts, one in each half, to help France win their ninth consecutive victory, their best since the war.

The match was played in heated conditions at Tokyo Stadium in Nagoya and France, after a heavy testing schedule, used their fitness to beat a team from Japan whose recent international play was limited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Is.

Flyhalf Mathieu Jalibert played a key role in France’s better performance in the second half. He took at least two tries and helped the French team get into good field condition. Jalibert was recently sidelined with a leg injury, but made an impressive comeback and France continued to improve as the match went on.

Penaud scored in only the second minute of the match’s opening attempt, without touching down as France swiftly moved the ball through the attacking scrum. Fullback Melvin Jaminate kicked off the conversion, his first of 17 points in the match.

Japan rallied with a try from Samoa-born flanker Tavita Tatafu, while flywheel Seungsin Lee matched Jaminate’s conversion and two penalties before halftime.

Japan suffered a major setback when regular flyhalf Takuya Yamasawa tested positive for COVID-19 the day before the match, forcing Lee to switch to the number 10 jersey.

Mathis Lebel scored on France’s first try of the second half when Japan’s center Dylan Riley was interrupted in defense and Penaud scored his second goal in the 57th minute. Jaminate converted both and added a penalty, before Yoram Moefana deposited a kick behind the defense and touched down. By that time, France had scored 22 unanswered points in the same number of minutes.

Pierre Bourgarit’s effort in the 69th minute robbed Japan of any chance of a resurgence, although the home team made the match’s final attempt via Siosia Fifita.

France had only a handful of players to feature in their last Six Nations match against England and coach Fabian Galthy would be pleased with the performance of their young and experimental lineup.

The teams meet again next weekend.


More Associated Press Rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

World Nation News Desk
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