LONDON – Japan staged a stirring comeback to clinch a 32-27 win over Russia in a World Cup preview in Gloucester on Saturday.
Japan face Russia in the opening game of the 2019 World Cup in Tokyo next September and this hard-fought clash was the perfect appetiser.
The Japanese sent out a young side for their last international of 2018 and the inexperienced line-up were trailing with just minutes left at the Kingsholm Stadium.
After a good showing in their 35-15 defeat against England at Twickenham last weekend, Japan were pushed to the brink by the Russians.
But Michael Leitch scored two tries for Japan, while Kenki Fukuoka and Hendrik Tui also crossed over to snatch the win.
Vladimir Ostrushko and Stanislav Selskiy were Russia's try scorers, with Yury Kushnarev kicking 11 points.
Hard-fought contest, but Leitch-led #JPN edge us out for the W. おめでとう to @JRFURugby! The countdown is truly on to the next #JPNvRUS fixture at @rugbyworldcup. We'll see you then to kick-off your party! pic.twitter.com/8grQdcZQGr— Rugby Union Russia (@russiarugby) November 24, 2018
Agence France-Presse (AFP)