Match Report: Scotland 38-7 Japan | WXV 2
In a second-half spectacle, Scotland concluded their third and final game in WXV2 with a 38-7 victory over Japan to give them a sixth consecutive win.
Scotland came firing out the blocks in the opening stages, with the side dominating territory in the opening five minutes but a quick tap-and-go penalty from Japan saw the side thundering down the pitch before Iroha Nagata darted over in the corner, with Ayasa Otsuka adding the extras [0-7].
Scotland had to defend hard against Japan’s probing attacks, with the side making their way to the 5m line on a number of occasions.
Scotland were close to scoring around the 30-minute mark, with the attack springing into action but a fumble of the ball between Emma Orr and Chloe Rollie brought it to a halt.
With half-time approaching, Scotland sensed an opportunity and displayed their physicality in the scrum, winning a penalty numerous times before Kat Roche awarded the side with a penalty try.
Japan prop Sachiko Kato was shown a yellow card as both sides went down the tunnel for the interval, leaving the game all to play for in the second-half.
HALF-TIME: Scotland 7-7 Japan
The Scots used Japan’s yellow card to their advantage, as Emma Orr accelerated past the defence moments into the second-half before crossing over the line, with Helen Nelson converting the score [14-7].
With pressure building, Scotland saw another opportunity and capitalised on the 54th minute when Coreen Grant, on her WXV debut, crossed over in the corner [7-19].
Scotland secured the bonus-point on the back of a well-taken line-out and driving maul, with Lana Skeldon dotting down from close range and Helen Nelson adding the extras [26-7].
Scotland were soon in full flow again, with another WXV debutant, Sarah Bonar, making a brilliant break before racing down the pitch to score under the posts, with Meryl Smith slotting the conversion through the posts [33-7].
Japan continued to knock on Scotland’s door, searching for points but the Scottish defence refused to give them the answers they were looking for.
In the closing minutes of the game, Scotland were back in possession, creeping into Japan’s half, searching for space. Japan were penalised for not rolling away, gifting Lisa Thomson the opportunity to kick for a line out. Whilst the maul came down some five metres from the line, rapid work from Caity Mattinson to release Emma Orr, saw the centre crash over the line for her second try [38-7].
There were just a handful of seconds left on the clock, and Kat Roche blew her whistle for full-time when the ball was knocked on.
Scotland will leave Cape Town with their heads held high, and time will tell whether they also leave with a trophy in hand. Either way, they should be extremely proud of their achievements in the inaugural WXV2 competition.
FULL-TIME: Scotland 38 – 7 Japan
Mastercard Player of the Match: Helen Nelson (Scotland)
Scotland: Chloe Rollie; Rhona Lloyd, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Francesca McGhie; Helen Nelson, Mairi McDonald; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm (Captain), Rachel McLachlan, Evie Gallagher.
Replacements: Elis Martin on for Lana Skeldon (72 mins), Anne Young on for Bartlett (62 mins), Lisa Cockburn on for Belisle (63 mins), Sarah Bonar on for McMillan (47 mins), Jade Konkel on for McLachlan (47 mins), Caity Mattinson on for McDonald (47 mins), Meryl Smith on for Nelson (63 mins), Coreen Grant on for McGhie (45 mins).
Japan: Sora Nishimura; Misaki Matsumura, Haruka Hirotsu, Kanako Kobayashi, Komachi Imakugi; Ayasa Otsuka, Moe Tsukui; Sachiko Kato, Kotomi Taniguchi, Yuka Sadaka, Masami Kawamura, Otoka Yoshimura, Sakurako Korai, Iroha Nagata (captain), Seina Saito.
Replacements: Hinata Komaki, Asuka Kuge, Nijiho Nagata, Jennifer Nduka, Ayano Nagai, Kotono Yasuo, Minori Yamamoto, Nao Ando.
Yellow cards: Sachiko Kato (Japan)
Referee: Kat Roche (USA)
Assistant Referee: Holly Wood (RFU)
Assistant Referee: Zoe Naude (SARU)