Scotland 42-17 Japan

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland
Scotland beat Japan in entertaining clash

Two Tommy Seymour tries helped Scotland get their autumn Tests off to a winning start against Japan at Murrayfield.

Home debutant Seymour went over in the only try of a frustrating first half.

Kenki Fukuoka twice brought Japan back into it either side of Greig Laidlaw's try before Seymour, Al Dickinson and Duncan Weir all touched down.

Sean Lamont crossed the line late on as Scott Johnson's side capitalised on a tiring Japan, hampered by Ryu Holani's sin-binning, to win comfortably.

Scotland's focus will now turn to their next two internationals, against South Africa on 17 November and Australia on 23 November.

They have already improved upon the trio of defeats this time last year but it did not come easily against Japan until midway through the second half.

Scotland, roughly five pounds a man heavier in the pack than the visitors, began playing rugby that put Scott Wisemantel's men under pressure and, in turn, had them conceding penalties.

Japan's Kenki Fukuoka (left) twice brought his team back into the match
Japan's Kenki Fukuoka (left) twice brought his team back into the match

Those concessions were mainly due to a collapsing Japanese scrum, the blame for which could partly be apportioned to the nematode-ridden turf uprooting at the slightest touch.

Laidlaw scored his first penalty but the Edinburgh captain's second at the East Stand side came back off the upright.

The increasingly ripped-up grass in Japan's half was testament to Scotland's dominance but they found it difficult to puncture the Japanese three-quarter line.

Seymour, on his home international debut, came closest to the try line in an opening half hour where Japan displayed how they have developed as a rugby-playing nation over recent years.

A solid Tim Swinson block tackle was required to thwart Craig Wing, while winger Fukuoka was often a handful down the left.

Shota Horie coming in from the side on the ruck allowed Laidlaw to make it 6-0 from a penalty before Scotland turned the screw.

The forwards rumbled through the phases to wear the Japan defence down and Seymour collected Ruaridh Jackson's pass to burst through and give the hosts a little breathing space, even though Laidlaw missed the conversion.

Japan got three points on the board from Ayumu Goromaru's kick after Scotland had been penalised for not rolling away from the tackle.

A brilliant surge from Nick de Luca then led to Lamont going over but that try was disallowed for an obstruction ruling against Al Kellock.

Any suggestions Scotland's 11-3 half-time lead was comfortable were put to bed within four minutes of the restart when Fukuoka's menace eventually materialised into a try.

Sean Lamont, scorer of Scotland's sixth against Japan, celebrates at the final whistle
Sean Lamont, scorer of Scotland's sixth against Japan, celebrates at the final whistle

Japan captain Toshaki Hirose had made the initial break before his team flipped the ball sweetly through the hands to Fukuoka on the opposite wing to canter in.

Goromaru kicked the conversion to bring the visitors within a point of Scotland.

However, Johnson's side, captained by Kelly Brown, responded in the best possible manner with sustained pressure yards from Japan's try line and it was Laidlaw who made the final dive to touch down before subsequently converting to extend Scotland's lead.

The Brave Blossoms would not lie down, though, and once again reeled the Scots back in.

A superb penetrating run by Goromaru had Scotland on the back foot and although he was hauled down short, Fukuoka picked to go the final three yards.

Goromaru got up to convert but the pendulum swung once more and it was Seymour again running over for Scotland.

For the second time, Jackson's feed helped the Glasgow player to make it two tries in three Tests, but Laidlaw missed the conversion from a tight angle.

Scotland were helped on their journey to victory when referee John-Paul Doyle sent Holani to the sin-bin for not removing his hand from the ball in a ruck.

Jackson popped the ball into the hands of a charging Dickinson to cross under the posts; Laidlaw adding the easy extras.

Then Sean Maitland's shovel infield found Weir's hands via those of a Japan defender before the replacement dived over.

To round things off, Lamont pounced on a kick over the top by Henry Pyrgos and, despite a tug on his shirt, added some sheen to the scoreline, with Weir successfully converting.

Scotland: Maitland; Seymour, de Luca, Scott, Lamont; Jackson, Laidlaw, Denton, Brown (capt), Strokosch, Kellock, Swinson, Murray, Ford, Ryan Grant.

Replacements: Taylor; Weir, Pyrgos, Barclay, Gray, Cross, MacArthur, Dickinson.

Japan: Goromaru; Hirose (capt), Sau, Wing, Fukuoka, Ono, Tanaka, Holani, Broadhurst, Tui, Makabe, Thompson; Hatakeyama, Horie, Mikami.

Replacements: Fujita; Tamuta, Hiwasa, Kikutani, Ono, Yamashita, Hatakeyama, Aoki, Nagae.

Referee: JP Doyle (Republic of Ireland)

Att: 32,680