The test match of Japan national rugby union team vs. Fiji national rugby union team was held in the Stade de La rabine of Vannes, on November 26. In the last week’s match, Japan fought a good fight but they lost a close match to Wales 33 to 30. So the Japanese starting lineup were same as Wales match. Shota Horie was a game captain in this match.
Then the starter of the Japan national team, officially nicknamed Brave Blossoms : ■PR: Kensuke Hatakeyama, Satoshi Nakatani ■HO: Shota Horie（Cap） ■LO: Kyosuke Kajikawa, Samuela Anise ■FL: Malgene Ilaua, Shunsuke Nunomaki ■No.8: Amanaki Lelei Mafi ■SH: Fumiaki Tanaka ■SO: Yu Tamura ■CTB: Harumichi Tatekawa, Timothy Lafaele ■WTB: Akihito Yamada, Kenki Fukuoka ■FB: Kotaro Matsushima
In the Fiji national rugby union team, officially nicknamed the Flying Fijians, 7 players have been exchanged over last week’s match with England national rugby union team. Akapusi Qera（No.8）of the captain and Leone Nakarawa（LO） of the Gold medalist in 2016 Rio Olympics Rugby Sevens were the starting member. 12 starting members of the Flying Fijians had been playing in France. Both teams played a match in July 2015, Fiji beat Japan 27 to 22. Japan is currently ranked at 11th in the world and Fiji is ranked 10th. By the way, Japan had played with Fiji in the semi-final match of Rio Olympics Rugby Sevens. At that time, Fiji beat Japan 20 to 5.
The capacity of the Stade de La rabine is 9,500, so there is little encouragement of spectators. At the beginning of the first half, Both teams had many short kicks and high punts. Then Albert VuliVuli（CTB）cut off the Japan’s kick and scored a try, a conversion kick was also scored. So Fiji was the first to score 7 to 0. In the 18 minute, Peceli Yato（FL） of Fiji was a sin-bin by dangerous play, Fiji had to play for fourteen players between ten minutes. So Tamura scored a penalty goal.
But after 1 minute, Metuisela Talebula（WTB）got the try and Nemani Nadolo（WTB）scored a conversion kicks. So Fiji took the lead in score of 14 to 3. In the 32 minute, Yato did a dangerous play again. So Yato got a second yellow card and he was sent off, Fiji had to play for fourteen players until the rest of time. Then Tamura scored a penalty goal. But Fiji broke through Japan’s tackle, Levani Botia（CTB）scored a try. Nadolo also scored a conversion kicks, Fiji took the lead in score of 21 to 6. So the first half ended with Fiji’s lead.
In Japan, Takeshi Hino（HO）and Shuhei Matsuhashi（FL） participated in the beginning of the second half. But Botia cut off the Japan’s pass and scored a try, a conversion kick was also scored in the 43 minute. Then Japan has changed members, Kanta Higashionna（PR）, Amanaki Lotoahea（WTB）, Karne Hesketh（WTB）and Kotaro Yatabe（LO）entered the ground.
But the attack of Fiji was followed, Botia scored a try and a conversion kick in the 51 minute. So Fiji took the lead in score of 35 to 6. In the 57 minute Matsushima scored a try, Japan got a first try. Tamura also scored a conversion kick. And Ilaua scored a try in the 63 minute, the score became 35 to 18. The attack of Fiji was followed, Matsushima scored a try again and Tamura also scored a conversion kick in the 77 minute. But finally, Botia scored a penalty kick, Fiji beat Japan 38 to 25.
Japan still feel tired from working too much last week’s match, so their movement was not good. And In Japan, there were also many miscicks and passes, and Fiji connected them to the score. More than anything, Japan had been a new team for 4 weeks, so Japan didn’t take the defense of cooperation. The good play of Japan is the try of Matsushima. He scored two tries with a beautiful step, so he took the regular position of FB. The total results of Japan and Fiji is that Japan took 3 wins and 14 losses. And the 2016 Autumn Internationals of Japan were 1 win & 3 losses.
This youtube’s video is the match of Japan vs. Fiji in 2015. The world rankings of both countries are close, but Japan has been poor at Fiji for a long time.