Ayumu Goromaru slots five penalties and Yoshikazu Fujita scores lone try as Brave Blossoms defeat Canada’s Men’s Team 20-6 in San Jose
Richard Thorpe from team Canada – photo by Mike Beaverson
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – Canada fell 20-6 to Japan in their opening game of the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup in San Jose, California, Saturday evening.
Canada’s points came from the boot of Gordon McRorie who kicked two penalties, while Japan captain and all-time leading point scorer Ayumu Goromaru kicked five penalties while Yoshikazu Fujita had the only try of the game.
“I thought we created a lot of chances, we just weren’t able to take them and just gave away too many penalties,” head coach Kieran Crowley said. “There were certainly some real positives about the opportunities we created. We now need to work on taking those opportunities.”
Canada committed over a dozen penalties, something captain Tyler Ardron said needs to be fixed ahead of next week’s clash with Tonga.
“Most of them were when we had ball in hand so it was very frustrating,” Ardron said. “That’s how we want to play, ball in hand, so not being able to keep it and putting phases together to do what we’ve practiced all week is frustrating.”
Goromaru kicked Japan ahead after only eight minutes but Canada responded with sustained pressure, DTH Van Der Merwe getting around the Japanese line but his offload fell into the wrong hands.
Canada couldn’t convert and Japan scored the first, and only, try of the game in the 16th minute. Kotaro Matsushima darted through the Canadian line and his offload found Fujita who cruised in for his 25th test try. Goromaru couldn’t add the conversion, leaving Japan up 8-0.
Canada responded brilliantly however as McRorie converted his first penalty of the game after Hitoshi Ono was penalized.
Goromaru extended the Japanese lead in the 29th minute to 11-3 with his second penalty of the night. A few minutes later, Japan were reduced to 14 men as Yu Tamara was sent to the sin bin for a tip tackle on Connor Braid. Despite the man advantage, Canada were unable to put points on the board and trailed 11-3 at the break after Goromaru missed a penalty in the 39th minute.
However, he would make up for it in the 44th minute as Canada were penalized for not using the ball at the back of the scrum and less than 10 minutes later, the lead was 17-3.
“You just can’t [commit penalties] at this level because you know they’re all pretty good goal kickers,” Crowley said. “The frustrating part was we were in pretty good position to get points, we’d give away a penalty and that would turn into points for them down the other end.”
Once again Canada responded well, first, Braid smashed through the Japanese line but his offload found the hands of Michael Broadhurst which ultimately led to a penalty, that McRorie converted in the 61st minute.
Goromaru added his fifth and final penalty in the 67th minute to make it 20-6 and Canada spent the final 10 minutes of the game camped in the Japanese half but couldn’t find a way pass the stingy Brave Blossoms defence.
Head coach Kieran Crowley gave a test debut to Thyssen de Goede at flanker while Callum Morrison came off the bench with 20 minutes left to make his first appearance for Canada’s senior men’s team.
Canada last faced Japan in the 2014 Pacific Nations Cup, falling 34-25 in Burnaby. Canada has an extensive history against Japan, going 8-14-2, since their first meeting in 1932. The two draws both came during World Cup action — 12-12 during the 2007 edition and 23-23 at the 2011 tournament.
Canada will face Tonga, who fell 30-22 against Fiji in Suva Friday night, in their next PNC matchup on July 24 at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia. Kickoff is 10 pm ET / 7pm PT and can be watched LIVE on TSN2.
“If we can the handling errors down and the penalties quite a bit lower and convert some of those chances we had we should be able to put a lot more points on the board,” Ardron said.
Canada’s Roster vs. Japan in the Pacific Nations Cup – (Club), Hometown, Province
1 – Hubert Buydens – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2 – Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3 – Doug Wooldridge – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
4 – Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
5 – Jon Phelan – (Doncaster Knights/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QB
6 – Thyssen de Goede – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
7 – Richard Thorpe – (London Welsh) Beckenham, England
8 – Tyler Ardron, captain – (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
9 – Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10 – Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
11 – DTH Van Der Merwe – (Scarlets) Regina, SK
12 – Connor Braid – (Unattached/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
13 – Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
14 – Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys) Okotoks, ON
15 – Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
16 – Aaron Carpenter – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
17 – Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18 – Andrew Tiedemann – (Plymouth Albion/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
19 – Tyler Hotson – (Doncaster Knights) Vancouver, BC
20 – Callum Morrison – (UBC Old Boys Ravens/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
21 – Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22 – Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
23 – Phil Mackenzie – (Sale Sharks/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Kyle Gilmour – (Rotherham Titans/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Evan Olmstead – (Parramatta Two Blues/Prairie Wolf Pack) Sydney, Australia
Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac/Atlantic Rock) Montreal QB
James Pritchard – (Bedford Blues) Parkes, NSW, Australia
Jamie Cudmore – (Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Jason Marshall – (Agen/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB
Japan Roster to face Canada:
1. Hisateru Hirashima
2. Shota Horie
3. Hiroshi Yamashita
4. Hitoshi Ono
5. Luke Thompson
6. Justin Ives
7. Michael Broadhurst
8. Hayden Hopgood
9. Atsushi Hiwasa
10. Harumichi Tatekawa
11. Kenki Fukuoka
12. Yu Tamura
13. Kotaro Matsushima
14. Yoshikazu Fujita
15. Ayumu Goromaru (Captain)
16. Keita Inagaki
17. Takeshi Kizu
18. Shinnosuke Kakinaga
19. Kazuhiko Usami
20. Tsuyoshi Murata
21. Keisuke Uchida
22. Toshiaki Hirose
23. Tim Bennetts
Pens: Gordon McRorie (2)
Tries: Yoshikazu Fujita
Penalties: Ayumu Goromaru (5)