Test Match Report 1930-2019
日本語 Photo Journal
Japan's 8 Best Games
28 September 1971 at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium
●Japan 3-6 England○
Monumental loss that surprised the world
This was Japan's best game that made an impact on the world. In those days, Japanese rugby did not have any international recognition except for some involved parties. People only knew that rugby was played in Japan, too. For this match, 23,000 spectators flooded the stadium. The union took an unusual step and let the spectators in the ground, too. England played with all their might, but Japan stopped every attack no matter how fierce it was, and never allowed them to score a try. I shuddered with excitement to see the way Japan played.
We can tell how it impressed the journalists, too from the headlines of newspapers: “Japan played very hard but could not win,” “So close! Point differential was only 3,” “Excitement and fulfilment in the air,” “Japan's strong defence conceded no tries,” “23,000 spectators got excited with hand-in-hand combat,” “We are knocking on the world's door,” “Japan's dramatic combat did not bear fruit,” “Miyata fell at 5-yard,” “A lifetime-memory-to-be,” and “The XV voluntarily shed tears”.
The first half, 18 min: Rosbula kicked a penalty at 45-metres and opened the scoring, 0-3. 30 min: Yamaguchi missed a penalty kick at 38 metres away from the goal. 35 min: England scored a penalty, 0-6.
Japan had many opportunities to advance to near the goal, but none of them led to a try: Fujimoto and Ito in the 15th minute, from a pass by a three quarter player from an open play in the left side in the 25th minute, Mantani, Sakata, and Miyata following pre-arranged play “Kanpei”.
The dead heat continued in the second half. 31 min: Ito ran alone for 45 metres from a ruck, but pushed out of the touch-line just before the goal. 32 min: Miyata cut in from a scrum in front of the opponent's goal, burst through to the centre, but before he could manage to try, he was felled by England's desperate tackle at 5 metres away from the goal. 33 min: Yamaguchi scored a penalty at 32-metre to the left, 3-6. Neither team had a chance afterwards. After the desperate effort from both teams, Japan missed an opportunity to achieve giant-killing.
Japan 3 England XV 6
Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, Tokyo
Referee: Major Chris Tyler (England)
Touch Judges: Kazuhisa Tsutsumi-Takino (Japan), Shogo Matsuo (Japan)
JAPAN: 15 Masaharu Mantani, 14 Tadayuki Ito (capt), 13 Fumiharu Shimazaki, 12 Koji Miyata, 11 Yoshihiro Sakata, 10 Tadamasa Fujimoto-Kamohara, 9 Ryozo Imazato, 8 Yoshihiro Murata, 7 Yoshiharu Yamaguchi, 6 Yoshiaki Izawa, 5 Toshio Terai, 4 Hiroshi Ogasawara, 3 Masaaki Shimosono, 2 Mitsuo Atokawa, 1 Susumu 'Asura' Hara.
Penalty Goal: Yamaguchi.
ENGLAND XV: 15 Peter Alec Rossborough, 14 Peter Bernard Glover, 13 Jeremy Paul Aubrey Janion, 12 Christopher Story Wardlow (tour number-3 Alan Richard 'Dick' Cowman --), 11 Rodney Edward Webb, 10 John Frank Finlan, 9 Jan Godfrey 'Sprat' Webster, 8 Ronald Charles Hannaford, 7 Derek Prior 'Budge' Rogers OBE (capt), 6 Anthony Neary, 5 Roger Miles Uttley, 4 Peter John Larter, 3 Mike R. Hannel, 2 J.D. 'Gruncher' Gray, 1 Fran Edward Cotton.
Reserves: tour number-17 Nigel Christpher Starmer-Smith, 23 Peter John Wheeler, 4 David Robinson.
Penalty Goals: Rossborough (2).
Scoring sequence (Japan's score shown first): 10min-pen England, Rossborough (missed), 18min-pen England, Rossborough-0-3, 35min-pen England, Rossborough-0-6, Half-time, 73min-pen Japan, Yamaguchi-3-6.