Preview: Scotland v Japan

Preview: Scotland v Japan

Scotland will face Japan today (Friday 27 October) at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town as they look to end their first every WXV 2 campaign on a high (kick-off 1pm UK time / 2pm local time) – live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport Scotland website.

Scotland recorded an impressive 14-24 bonus-point victory against USA last Friday, with the side going into this week’s contest with a chance to claim the title. Both Italy and Scotland have ten points each after the first two rounds, with Italy currently topping the table due to a points difference of seven after their 36-18 win against South Africa.

Scotland Women Head Coach Bryan Easson has named a settled starting line-up but has made two alterations to the replacements, with Sarah Bonar and Coreen Grant returning from injury and looking to have their first involvement in the tournament.

Japan will also head into the contest feeling confident after securing a comprehensive 32-10 win against Samoa last weekend.

Ahead of this afternoon’s match against Japan, we take an in-depth look at the previous encounters between the two sides and our opponents’ season so far.

In-depth focus: Japan

Friday’s encounter will be the third between the two sides, with their first match being played back in 2019 at Scotstoun Stadium, with Japan claiming a 20-24 victory and tries from Norikoi Tanguchi, Seina Saito, Ayasa Otsuka and Makoto Lavemai.

In 2021, Scotland secured a comfortable 36-12 victory in Edinburgh against the Sakura 15s, courtesy of a flurry of tries from Rhona Lloyd, Lana Skeldon, Megan Gaffney, Chloe Rollie and Lisa Thomson.

Japan have enjoyed a recent positive spell of results since last year’s Rugby World Cup, with the side cruising their way to WXV 2 qualification after defeating Kazakhstan 72-0 and claiming the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship title in May.

Since then, the side have claimed wins against Spain and Italy throughout the summer, along with a double victory against Fiji in preparation for the new global competition.

The side had a disappointing start to their WXV 2 campaign, with a 15-28 defeat against Italy in the opening round. In the contest against the Azzurri in Stellenbosch, Misaki Matsumura scored two of Japan’s three tries – the first while Michela Sillari was in the sin-bin and the second in stoppage time at the end of the match – while Jennifer Nduka got the other.

The Sakura 15s bounced back the following week against Samoa, with a dominant performance and tries from Iroha Nagata, Sakurako Korai, Haruka Hirotsu and Nao Ando.

Looking ahead to the fixture earlier this week, Easson, said: “I’ve been impressed by Japan in the competition. Despite a tough start against Italy in the opening round but they had a really physical test against Samoa last week and they fronted up well.

“They provide a different threat to South Africa and USA as we are expecting them to attack with width and their kick attack has been impressive as well but we’ve prepared accordingly.”

You can watch all the WXV action live on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Scotland and  RugbyPass TV. For an explainer on World Rugby’s new competition, including details on all of Scotland’s fixtures and opponents, click  HERE.

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