Japan give Maori All Blacks huge scare

Thumped by 40 points last week, Japan gave the Maori All Blacks a major scare before a last-gasp try to Dan Pryor earned the visitors a 20-18 win in Toyko today.

The visitors romped to a comfortable 61-21 victory last weekend but were given a stern challenge by Eddie Jones' side second time around, Pryor's intervention sparing Maori blushes.

The Brave Blossoms showed skill, speed and passion against their more illustrious opponents, with Ayumu Goromaru putting Japan ahead with six minutes left.

It appeared the Maori would lose their first match since 2012, before Pryor's late effort broke Japanese hearts as they eyed a first win over their opposition.

The Maori lost lock Tom Franklin to a yellow card within the first 10 minutes, but despite plenty of possession and territory, Japan were unable to make a deserved breakthrough.

They had a try ruled out for offside and missed a shot at goal after spurning an earlier attempt.

They were made to pay for their wastefulness, Canterbury hooker Codie Taylor finally breaking the deadlock after 16 minutes.

A replacement for Ash Dixon, who fractured his arm in the first match, he showed a neat step and good turn of pace to race through a gap in the midfield just before Franklin returned to the pitch.

Fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder scored the second shortly afterwards, the Manawatu speedster touching down in the corner.

Ihaia West knocked over a close-range penalty to further extend the lead.

The home side scored the try their efforts deserved on the stroke of half-time, wing Akihito Yamada scrambling down the touchline after the ball was moved left.

The Tokyo faithful had more to cheer after the break, Japan being awarded a penalty try after an impressive effort at scrum time to narrow the gap to 15-12 with half an hour remaining.

Japan refused to abandon their running game as they went in search of a famous win, Goromaru drawing the scores level with a penalty.

They went ahead after Pryor was penalised after a sustained period of Japanese possession, Goromaru making no mistake from close range.

Japan held the advantage with six minutes remaining, however Pryor went from villain to hero, finishing off a flowing move from a quick throw-in in the dying moments.


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