Japan (10) 13-26 (16) Scotland

Japan (10) 13-26 (16) Scotland

Scotland won the opening match of their 2016 summer tour to Japan against a determined home side who pushed the visitors to the final whistle (13-26).

In high temperatures and humidity in the Toyota Stadium Scotland proved more clinical and disciplined than their hosts to maintain a 100% record against Japan at Test level.

Scotland’s experience and power created consistent pressure throughout the 80 minutes, on a Japanese side whose infringements were well punished by Greig Laidlaw’s boot, which saw the Scotland skipper finish with 16 points.

For all the positives there were some negatives, as a hamstring injury to prop Alasdair Dickinson in the third minute marred the early exchanges.

MATCH REPORT

The final outcome looked slightly less obvious in the opening quarter of the match after a Greig Laidlaw penalty was quickly overtaken by a sweeping Japanese attack from a tap penalty, which created a try under the posts for their captain Shota Horie on nine minutes (7-3).

Then began an uncertain spell for the visitors but, after opting for a simpler strategy for a short spell, Scotland regrouped and maintained good field position; Laidlaw slotting two penalties to one from Yu Tamura to move within a point of the hosts (10-9).

Japan were penalised at the first scrum and again at regular intervals at the breakdown, which subsequently enabled Scotland to turn the scoreboard in their favour, before moving out of reach.

As the first half closed a penalty try also resulted in a yellow card for Japan’s replacement full-back Kotaro Matsuda as he knocked down (and on) a certain try-scoring pass for Tommy Seymour just before the interval, which the metronomic Laidlaw duly converted.

HALF-TIME: Japan 10-16 Scotland

A second yellow card three minutes later for blindside Henrik Tui for trying to halt a Scotland driving maul was exploited immediately, early in the second half.

The resulting phases saw Scotland tie in the reduced opposition numbers before tight-head prop Willem Nel burrowed over for his second Test try from as many yards.

Laidlaw added the extras before exchanging penalties once again to close out what was at times full-throttle, and others somewhat rusty, opening summer Test match.

FULL-TIME: Japan (10) 13-26 (16) Scotland

Japan: 15. Kotaro Matsushima; 14. Mifi Paea, 13. Tim Bennetts, 12. Harumuchi Tatekawa CAPTAIN, 11. Yasutaka Sasakura; 10. Yu Tamura, 9. Kaito Shigeno; 1. Keita Inagaki, 2. Shota Horie, 3. Kensuke Hatakeyama, 4. Hitoshi Ono, 5. Naohiro Kotaki, 6. Hendrik Tui, 7. Shokei Kin, 8. Amanaki Mafi. Substitites: 16. Takeshi Kizu, 17. Masataka Mikami, 18. Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19. Kotaro Yatabe, 20. Masahito Yamamoto, 21. Keisuke Uchida, 22. Kobei Ono, 23. Rikiya Matsuda.

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg; 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Duncan Taylor, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Damien Hoyland; 10. Ruaridh Jackson, 9. Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN; 1. Alasdair Dickinson, 2. Stuart McInally, 3. WP Nel, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. John Barclay, 7. John Hardie, 8. Ryan Wilson. Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown on for McInally (48′), 17. Rory Sutherland on for Dickinson (3′), 18. Moray Low on for Nel (64′), 19. Tim Swinson on for R.Gray (66′), 20. David Denton of for Wilson (64′), 21. Henry Pyrgos, 22. Peter Horne on for Taylor (66′), 23. Sean Maitland on for Hoyland (57′).

MATCH LIVE

    2016 Summer Tour:
    Japan v Scotland, Toyota Stadium, Toyota City
    Saturday 18 June (kick-off 11.20am BST) – live on BBC

    Scotland will face Rugby World Cup rivals Japan in Toyota this Saturday in the first of two summer Test matches on consecutive Saturdays (18 and 25 June).

    The matches will be the sixth and seventh time that the two nations have met on full Test-capped terms, while the countries have played on five other occasions when Scotland have fielded a development ‘XV’ in 1976, 1977, 1986, 1989 and 2010.

    The victory also kept the Scots unbeaten against Japan in Test conditions, with next summer’s games the first to see caps awarded to the two nations on Japanese soil; though it will be the third time a Scottish select has toured the land of the rising sun (1977 and 1989).

    SCOTLAND TEAM NEWS

    Head coach Vern Cotter has named five personnel changes to the side that finished the 2016 RBS 6 Nations, with young Edinburgh Rugby wing Damien Hoyland (22), set for his first Scotland start.

    Harlequins-bound Ruaridh Jackson will start at stand-off – alongside captain Greig Laidlaw – for the first time since a replacement appearance against Canada in 2014.

    Centre Matt Scott steps in for the injured Alex Dunbar to complete the changes to the backs, having recovered from the quad injury that ended his 2016 6 Nations campaign in the opening game against England.

    In the pack, hooker Stuart McInally will earn his second start in eight caps for his country, maintaining the national team’s all-Edinburgh Rugby front-row in spite of the injury absence of Ross Ford (calf), whose Scotland cap-centurion champagne remains on ice.

    Lock Jonny Gray missed the RBS 6 Nations’ finale with a partial pectoral tear but has long since recovered to form a starting second-row partnership with brother Richie for a fifteenth time.

    Japan: 15. Kotaro Matsushima; 14. Mifi Paea, 13. Tim Bennetts, 12. Harumuchi Tatekawa CAPTAIN, 11. Yasutaka Sasakura; 10. Yu Tamura, 9. Kaito Shigeno; 1. Keita Inagaki, 2. Shota Horie, 3. Kensuke Hatakeyama, 4. Hitoshi Ono, 5. Naohiro Kotaki, 6. Hendrik Tui, 7. Shokei Kin, 8. Amanaki Mafi. Substitites: 16. Takeshi Kizu, 17. Masataka Mikami, 18. Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19. Kotaro Yatabe, 20. Masahito Yamamoto, 21. Keisuke Uchida, 22. Kobei Ono, 23. Rikiya Matsuda.

    Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg; 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Duncan Taylor, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Damien Hoyland; 10. Ruaridh Jackson, 9. Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN; 1. Alasdair Dickinson, 2. Stuart McInally, 3. WP Nel, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. John Barclay, 7. John Hardie, 8. Ryan Wilson. Substitutes: 16 Fraser Brown, 17. Rory Sutherland, 18. Moray Low, 19. Tim Swinson, 20. David Denton, 21. Henry Pyrgos, 22. Peter Horne, 23. Sean Maitland.

    2016 Summer Tour

    Saturday 18 June: Japan v Scotland, Toyota Stadium, Toyota City (KO 7.20pm local, 11.20am) – live on BBC
    Saturday 25 June: Japan v Scotland, Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo(KO 7.20pm local, 11.20am) – live on BBC

    Scotland / Japan games over the years:

    2015: Scotland 45-10 Japan, Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester (RWC 2015)
    2013: Scotland 42-17 Japan, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
    2010: Scotland XV 24-5 Japan Select, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh (uncapped match)
    2004: Scotland 100-8 Japan, McDiarmid Park, Perth
    2003: Japan 11-32 Scotland, Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville (RWC 2003)
    1991: Scotland 47-9 Japan, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh (RWC 1991)
    1989: Japan 28-24 Scotland XV, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo (uncapped match)
    1986: Scotland XV 33-18 Japan, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh (uncapped match)
    1977: Japan 9-74 Scotland XV, Olympic Stadium, Tokyo (uncapped match)
    1976: Scotland XV 34-9 Japan,  BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh (uncapped match)

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