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World Cup debutants Chile lose to Japan

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Japan ran in six converted tries as they kicked-off their Rugby World Cup campaign with a 42-12 bonus point win against debutants Chile, who put on a brave face in searing heat and scored two tries in Pool ‘D’ on Sunday.

After opening the scoring through a Rodrigo Fernandez early try, the South American team, the lowest ranked at this World Cup, added another from Alfonso Escobar with Santiago Vila slotting over the conversion.

Japan made the most of Chile’s two yellow cards to prevail with a brace by Amato Fakatava and other tries from Jone Naikabula, Michael Leitch, Ryoto Nakamura and Warner Dearns, all six being converted by Rikiya Matsuda.

A rousing rendition of the national anthem was followed by a spirited start for Chile, the first World Cup debutants since Russia in 2011, and then a dream try in the sixth minute, manufactured with Latin flair and finished off with a dollop of good fortune.

Full back Inaki Ayarza broke through two tackles to set up the opportunity, but Captain Martin Sigren looked to have spoilt it when the ball was knocked out of his hand in the tackle.

It, however, went backwards and quick-thinking fly half Fernandez pounced on the loose ball, dribbling it forward and then diving on it to dot down. A check by the Television Match Official confirmed the try to the delight of the capacity crowd.

Chilean euphoria lasted less than 120 seconds as they dropped the ball from the kick-off, allowing Japan to score as lock Fakatava showed a fleetness of foot to burst through and sprint away from the defenders for a quick reply.

Basic errors betrayed Chile’s naivete and a late tackle from Matias Dittus on fellow prop Koo Ji-won meant a 10-minute spell in the sin bin, during which time Japan went in the lead on the half-hour mark as winger Naikabula stretched over for their second try.

(C.D)

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