15th Place Play-off: Uruguay 17-54 Japan

(IRB.COM) Sunday 21 June 2009
By Oscar Jimenez
From Nagoya
 15th Place Play-off: Uruguay 17-54 Japan
Harumichi Tatekawa scored Japan's eight try against Uruguay - Photo: Aki Nagao (RJP)

The Japanese fans, who have turned out in their numbers and braved the rain throughout the tournament, were finally treated to a win at the Mizuho Rugby Ground as the Under 20 team showed just how fast and clinical they can be as a team.

Most of the work was done in the first half, with Japan taking a 40-0 lead into the break and they had the score board ticking over within the first minute.

Wing Yoshiaki Tsurugasaki crossed the line but Kenta Nakasone missed the conversion - although this would be his only miss of the afternoon. It was the centre who doubled Japan's lead after 13 minutes and he duly converted to make the score 14-0 before converting three more in the first half, scored by Tomohiro Shokai and a brace from Naoya Minamihashi.

The first half demonstrated that Japan are not just a one-trick pony, with many people suggesting they could only score through the rolling maul. As effective as that weapon was for the host's, it was the backs who demonstrated their free flowing style of rugby on the day.

However the dynamic changed slightly in the second half with Uruguay winning 17-14 after the restart, but all the damage had been done in the first half.

Uruguay coaching duo Bruno Grunwaldt and Martin Mendaro instructed their players to forget the score and start to play how they know they can and the south Americans certainly showed their combative spirit.

Captain Juan Ormachea led by example and Uruguay closed the gap with a try from Diego Magno after just 42 minutes - German Albanell adding the extras.

Japan scored again, however, with their own captain Ryuhei Arita, playing at flanker today, crossing for his fifth try of the Championship - again Nakasone converting taking his tally to 17 for the afternoon.

The Teritos fought back again however, with tries coming from Federico Perez Pirotto and Juan Verde, demonstrating their forwards strengths - with all three of their three second half tries coming from up front.

But it was Japan who sent their homes happy as they scored their eight try of the afternoon through wing Tomohiro Shokai - this time Harumichi Tatekawa adding the extras.