Wales rally to beat Japan
Osaka - A second-string Wales team twice came from behind to beat Asian champions Japan 22-18 in the opener of their two-Test series on Saturday.
It was Japan's 12th straight defeat to Wales, including three losses in Rugby World Cup matches, since their first encounter in 1973.
"I'm hugely proud," said Wales coach Robin McBryde.
"We didn't deal well with the (hot) conditions in the first half, but showed really good character to come through," he said.
Fullback Ayumu Goromaru gave Japan a 6-0 lead with two penalties but Welsh flyhalf Dan Biggar pulled two penalties back, one with a long shot from near the halfway line, to level at 6-6.
Fullback Liam Williams saved a try, but the Japanese threatened the Welsh side several times and finally scored to take a 11-6 lead again shortly before the break.
Japan won a lineout close to the Welsh goal line, allowing flank Michael Broadhurst to touch down near the right corner in the 38th minute, too far out for Goromaru to convert.
Goromaru missed two penalty shots while Biggar scored one penalty to trail Japan 9-11 at the beginning of the second half.
Wales encamped in the Japanese field for most of the second half, playing close to the Japanese tryline and took the lead for the first time when Biggar added another penalty in the 59th minute.
The visitors stretched their lead when wing Harry Robinson completed a fluent passing play to score a converted try in the 63rd minute.
Right-wing Yoshikazu Fujita kept Japanese hopes alive with a try in the 69th minute and Goromaru capitalised to close the gap to 19-18.
But a Japanese high tackle gave Wales another penalty chance, which substitute Rhys Patchell cashed in on in the 78th minute to complete the scoring.
"I'm very disappointed with the game. We could have won. But I'm very proud of my players," Japan coach Eddie Jones said.
The two teams will play each other again next week at the Prince Chichibu stadium in Tokyo.
Wales' best players and their head coach Warren Gatland are touring Australia with the British and Irish Lions.Scorers:
Tries: Michael Broadhurst, Yoshikazu Fujita
Conversion: Ayumu Goromaru
Penalties: Goramaru (2)Wales:
Tries: Harry Robinson
Conversion: Dan Biggar
Penalties: Biggar (4), Rhys Patchell