Saturday, September 30, 2023
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Naikabula scores in Japan’s warm-up defeat

Fiji-born former Japan 7s winger Jone Naikabula scored a try in Japan’s 42-21 loss to Italy in their warm-up match against Italy in Treviso this morning.

The Italians wasted no time in making a quick start to the match when Paolo Garbisi’s break set up the opening try for scrumhalf Stephen Varney and Tommaso Allan added the conversion for 8-0 lead just eight minutes into the match.

In the 16th minute, Japan replied with a nice lineout move with Shota Horie setting up Naikabula, who beat a couple of defenders and crashed over the try line to touch down but Seungsin Lee failed to convert.

Italy hit back from its own half, from winger Montanna Ioane and Allan converted to keep them ahead with a 14-5 lead.

Both sides traded penalties as Allan got the job done for Italy before Lee missed a penalty to Japan but soon he rectified his kicking game in the other two opportunities, slotting the ball in between the uprights.

Italy led by 17-11 at the break.

Italy kept its dominance in the second stanza and got their remaining points from Allan booting two penalties while Ioane grabbed his hat-trick of tries and scrumhalf Martin Page-Relo grabbed the last one.

On the other hand, fullback Kotaro Matsushima and Dylan Riley scored two unconverted tries for the men in the Red and White jerseys.

Meanwhile, former captain and explosive loose man Michael Leitch, who will feature in his fourth World Cup, returned to the blindside flank for his 80th test cap for Japan following his suspension off the back of the red card he picked up against Samoa while Semisi Masirewa started once again on the left wing.

Japan will open its 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign against Chile in Toulouse on 10 September.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist |


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