Japan player ratings: Michael Leitch and Warner Dearns catch the eye in defeat to England

Michael Leitch Japan v England ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Michael Leitch Japan v England ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Following their 52-13 defeat against England at Twickenham on Saturday, here’s the player ratings for Japan.

15 Ryohei Yamanaka: Put his body on the line on defence but with England dominant throughout, making tackles was what he did mostly in this game. 5

14 Kotaro Matsushima: Missed a crucial tackle on Freddie Steward, who went on to score in the first half. Like most of the Brave Blossoms, he did not make a big impact on attack. 5

13 Dylan Riley: Came close to scoring in the first half after combining with Michael Leitch and looked dangerous on attack throughout.  Also solid on defence. 7

12 Ryoto Nakamura: With Japan receiving scraps of possession, he had few opportunities on attack. When he did receive the ball, he was kept in check by the home side’s defence. 5

11 Gerhard van den Heever: Had some attacking opportunities in the first half but nothing of interest came of that. Kept busy on defence but failed that test and was replaced by Siosaia Fifita early in the second half. 4

10 Takuya Yamasawa: Kicked a couple of penalties during the first half but offered little on attack and was replaced by Seungsin Lee at the interval. 4

9 Yutaka Nagare: Made a lively start but with his forwards on the back foot for long periods, he struggled to unleash his outside backs. Replaced midway through the second half by Naoto Saito, who crossed for a try. 5

8 Tevita Tatafu: Caught the eye with some powerful carries during the opening half but went quiet as the match progressed and replaced by Pieter Labuschagne in the 53rd minute. 6

7 Kazuki Himeno: The Highlander was in the thick of the action from the outset but although he gave his all on attack and defence, it wasn’t good enough to trouble England. 6

Big shift from veteran back-row

6 Michael Leitch: The experienced flanker was at the forefront of Japan’s forward onslaught and despite coming off second best in most exchanges, he toiled manfully throughout and eventually gained 110 metres on attack. 8

5 Jack Cornelsen: Did what was expected of him in the lineouts and defended well. Eventually made eight tackles but made little impact otherwise. 5

4 Warner Dearns: Was solid in the lineouts and did well in the build-up to Saito’s try with a fine line break and offload to the scrum-half. Ran hard and also impressed on defence with 12 hits completed. 8

3 Jiwon Gu: The Brave Blossoms battled in the scrums but Gu stood up well and even won a penalty at the set-piece. Also took the ball up on attack but with little effect. 6

2 Atsushi Sakate: Little interesting to report here. Although the Brave Blossoms captain took the ball into contact on several occasions, he made little headway and was quiet on defence. 5

1 Keita Inagaki: Another one who made little impact in the grander scheme of things. Struggled in the scrums but did well on defence with eight tackles made. Replaced early in the second half. 5

Replacements: The Brave Blossoms brought on most of their replacements during the early stages of the second half and although the likes of Saito and Seungsin Lee brought some energy to the cause, it wasn’t good enough against their hosts. 5

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series: England ease to dominant victory over Japan at Twickenham

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