Oita, Japan: Japan conjured a hat-trick of magical scores to floor Six Nations side Italy 34-17 yesterday in the first game of their two-match rugby series.
The Brave Blossoms, who finished with four tries to Italy’s two, produced moments of breathtaking skill as Amanaki Mafi, Kenki Fukuoka and Lomano Lemeki scored for the home side in Oita, western Japan.
Japan fly-half Yu Tamura made six out of seven kicks in a confident performance for the 2019 World Cup hosts.
The Italians, currently ranked 14th in the world, three places below Japan, began brightly in balmy conditions, prop Tiziano Pasquali opening the scoring with an opportunistic try after 15 minutes.
But a slick exchange of passes between Leitch and the impressive Fukuoka allowed Mafi to restore parity.