Japan put Wales on high alert

Japan have sent Wales an early warning following their brave Rugby World Cup showing against Fiji at the Municipal Stadium on Wednesday.

The Cherry Blossoms were beaten despite scoring 31 points, however they intend to take their frustrations out on the Welsh in their next Pool B match at the Millennium Stadium next Thursday.

Wales, who host Australia in a crunch clash in Cardiff on Saturday, have been warned not to underestimate John Kirwan’s men after they bounced back from a 91-3 mauling by the Wallabies to push the Fijiians all the way in Toulouse.

Centre Shotaro Onishi, who kicked six goals from seven attempts in his side’s 35-31 defeat – which at least earned them a bonus point – said Japan aim to turn on the style when they visit Cardiff.

“Once again, when we play Wales, we want to show the Japanese style of rugby,” said Onishi.

Prop Tatsukichi Nishiura, who was one of nine Japanese players making their World Cup debuts in Toulouse, said he hoped his side’s refreshing attitude will win over any neutrals among the crowd at the Millennium Stadium.

“We receive great support wherever we play in the world. The world over loves the Japanese style of play,” Nishiura said.

Kirwan, the former All Black who previously coached Italy, was proud of his players’ efforts on Wednesday and insisted the team will learn from the experience, starting in Cardiff next week.

“We need to carry on with vision – sometimes you have to have some pain to grow,” said Kirwan.

“We scored some good tries but went down. We get one point – we’ve got to take it and look forward.

“We have to hang onto the ball and recycle it – if we do that we will put any team under pressure. Now we need to build an intelligent game plan for Wales.”

Second row forward Luke Thompson, whose brace of second-half tries twice gave Japan the lead against Fiji, insisted there was no time to dwell on their hard-luck story.

“Looking back now, we should have won,” said the New Zealand-born lock.

“We played our hearts out but now it’s on to Wales. There are no excuses for Wales.”


365 Digital

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