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Japan beats Canada in Pacific Nations Cup opener

Kyodo

Japan beat Canada 20-6 in its Pacific Nations Cup opener behind the goal kicking of captain Ayumu Goromaru on Saturday.

Goromaru, filling in as skipper for Michael Leitch, had a personal haul of 15 points through five penalties. Yoshikazu Fujita scored the lone try by either side in the 10th minute.

“We went into the game remembering how we were at last year’s Pacific Nations Cup,” Goromaru said. “But considering how the makeup of the Canadian team has changed, and how we’ve gotten physically stronger from a year ago, we played very well in our first match at the PNC.

“They pulled away in the first half last year, so we wanted to be really physical in the first 20 minutes.”

The Brave Blossoms drew first blood in the fourth minute with Goromaru’s first penalty before Fujita’s unconverted try gave Eddie Jones’ men an 8-0 lead after 13 minutes.

Gordon McRorie pulled Canada within five points three minutes later, but the Leafs would go quiet until the hour mark as Japan tightened up its defense.

Goromaru padded out his team’s 11-3 halftime lead with a trio of second-half penalties that secured Japan’s victory ahead of Friday’s game against the United States.

“We’ve been communicating well in training so I had a good feeling about scoring a try,” Fujita said. “But I think we can be even better in defense if we remind ourselves of what we’ve been working on since the spring.

“We need to reorganize and make some adjustments going into the next game.”