Oita (Japan) (AFP)

Australia coach Dave Rennie said his players were "rusty" and lacked "a little patience" but the New Zealander believes the victory will be useful for their next tour of Europe.

Michael Hooper's teammates seemed to be on their way to a big win when they led 14-3 after 22 minutes and two tries from Tom Wright (7th) and Jordan Petaia (22nd) - entered in the 14th minute to replace the rear Reece Hodge, injured -, transformed by Quade Cooper.

The Japanese were then only able to respond with a successful penalty by Rikiya Matsuda.

But they then responded with a try from Lomano Lava Lemeki (26th), transformed by Matsuda who then added a penalty to allow the Brave Blossoms to stay in the race at the break (17-13 for the Australians).

The Australians, in a stadium where they were returning for the first time since their defeat in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup against England, started the second half like the first, drum beating.

Taniela Tupou (43rd) and Rob Leota (52nd) added two new tries to allow their team to take to the sea (27-13).

But the Brave Blossoms never abdicate: they came back to four lengths, thanks to a try from Ryoto Nakamura (56th), transformed, then a final penalty from Yu Tamura (74th), before abdicating in the 79th minute on a last Australian test, entered by Connal McInnerney.

The XV of Australia thus signed, without never however taking shelter definitively, its fifth consecutive victory before its departure for Europe where it must face successively in November Scotland, England and Wales. .

Japan's Timothy Lafaele (r.) Tries to intercept Australian Rob Valetini (2nd from r.) During the rugby union test match between Japan and Australia at Oita stadium, in Oita (south- west of Japan) on October 23, 2021. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU AFP

"We're happy to win, and we'll be better after this game," said Rennie.

Hooper impressed

"It's a good team. Every time we gave them a little space, they hurt us," he said.

The 57-year-old added that Japan were "a different opponent" from the teams faced in the recent Rugby Championship, where the Wallabies twice beat South Africa and Argentina.

The former Glasgow Warriors coach also stressed that the Japanese squad are "very different from what we are going to face in the next three weeks", in anticipation of the tour in which he may well be without a full-back. Reece Hodge, injured on Saturday.

Japan suffered, before its European tour in November which will see him face Ireland, Portugal and Scotland, his third setback of the year, in three matches, without having each time to be ashamed of the defeat. .

Australian captain Michael Hooper, who played six months at the Toyota Verblitz this year, was impressed with his progress.

"Japan has improved very quickly over the past two years," he said.

Australia's Matt Philip (top, 2nd from right) and Jack Cornelsen of Japan (top, left) fight for the ball in a scrimmage during the test match between Japan and Australia at Oita Stadium , October 23, 2021. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU AFP

"Sometimes I had the impression today that we were able to put a lot of pressure on the Japanese team, and that they were able to find solutions and come out of it to send the ball back to us directly. ", analyzed the third line wing of 29 years.

© 2021 AFP

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