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Canada downs Japan to take Toshiba Super Cup

by Rich Freeman

Canada won the Toshiba Super Cup at Tokyo’s Chichibunomiya on Sunday, beating Japan 15-10 in the final.

News photoJapan forward Takuro Miuchi is tackled by a Canadian player during the first half of their Super Cup match Sunday at Chichibunomiya Rugby Field. Canada won 15-10.

In a game of two halves and featuring two very different styles of rugby, the Canucks employed a tight mauling game to negate the speed and tactical kicking of the Japanese and the game was not decided until the 77th minute when Dean van Camp crossed for Canada’s second try.

The score perhaps summed up the game in a nutshell as it originated when Japan was once again penalized on a technicality on the Canadian 22. A quick tap and go and with the ball passing through four sets of hands, the Canadians slipped past some weak attempted tackles before van Camp was given a 40-meter run to the line.

Katani Otukolo crossed for a try five minutes later for Japan but it was too little too late as time ran out.

“We decided to play a tight rolling game and direct style to attain our goal of winning the Toshiba Super Cup,” said Canada coach Ric Suggitt.

“We got a bit of a spanking (in last year’s final) and didn’t want that to happen this year.”

The first half had, according to Japan lock Jamie Washington, been a bit of an arm wrestle, and the teams went into the break with Japan leading 3-0, courtesy of a 19th-minute drop goal from Kyohei Morita.

However, the main talking point was a wonderful cover tackle from Japan’s try machine Daisuke Ohata on Brodie Henderson, who had used his speed and some poor attempts at bringing him down to get within five meters of the line following a fine 45-meter break down the touchline.

Henderson was, however, not to be denied, and he scored the game’s first try in the 58th minute, touching down after Canada had too many men out wide following a turnover just outside the Japan 22. Derek Daypuck, who had earlier brought the teams level with a penalty, added the conversion from the touchline.

“The boys are disappointed as the game was there for the taking,” said Washington. “We just didn’t get the quality and quantity of good ball at the rucks to give our backs space.”

And what ball they did get was all too often kicked away, as Hosei University student Morita showed his relative naivety of test match rugby, and failed to control the game when it mattered.

In the day’s earlier game, Mike Hercus scored one of the United States three tries and became the Eagles’ all-time leading points scorer as the U.S. beat Romania 28-22 in the game for third-place.