Japan beat Italy 34-17 in Kyushu on Saturday to extend the Azzurri’s winless run to eight games.
The Japanese produced a scintillating display of attacking rugby to score four tries in a win that will provide a boost for the 2019 World Cup hosts.
Italy were the first to get on the board with prop Tiziano Pasquali making a dream start to his international career with a try.
Japan responded through tries from No 8 Amanaki Mafi and left-wing Kenki Fukuoka, before Italy No 8 Abraham Steyn scored to level the scores at 14-14 at half-time.
However, Jamie Joseph’s men took control of the second half, with flyhalf Yu Tamara at the centre of both of their tries. First, his cross-field kick was tapped into the path of right-wing Lomano Lemeki to extend Japan’s lead and then he provided a grubber which was gathered by fullback Kotaru Matsushima, who scored to seal the win.
Japan – Tries: Amanaki Mafi, Kenki Fukuoka, Lomano Lemeki, Kotaru Matsushima. Conversions: Yu Tamara (4). Penalties: Tamara (2).
Italy – Tries: Tiziano Pasquali, Braam Steyn. Conversions: Tommaso Allan (2). Penalty: Allan.
Japan – 15 Kotaru Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 Will Tupou, 12 Timothy Lafaele, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Michael Leitch (c), 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 Samuela Anise, 4 Wimpie van der Walt, 3 Ji-Won Koo, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Subs: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Ryoto Nakamura.
Italy – 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Giovanni Licata, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Subs: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Giosuè Zilocchi, 19 George Biagi, 20 Marco Fuser, 21 Jake Polledri, 22 Tito Tebaldi, 23 Jayden Hayward.
Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images