Evening Games Review of Day 3 at the BP WWRC
By Nathaniel Holland
With the pool stage now officially over, the focus shifts to the semi-finals, which will be contested between Canada vs. Japan, and Australia vs. USA.
That leaves New Zealand, Great Britain, France and South Africa to battle it out for the minor places over the next few days.
Nathaniel Holland reports on the action from the final two games of day three.
Canada 55–34 New Zealand
Canada secured their place in the semi-finals after a convincing 55-34 success over New Zealand.
Zak Madell’s Canada were in control from the start and quickly had a seven point lead after the first quarter.
Sholto Taylor and Cameron Leslie were playing well to nullify their opponents, but their first period tries weren’t enough to worry Canada.
Dan Buckingham was influential for the Kiwis in the second period, but Canada held strong and some great defensive play kept them ahead by ten points at the half time break.
New Zealand struggled to grasp a hold of the game in the second half as Canada were able to hold and extend their advantage.
New Zealand finished third in Pool A and will face France tomorrow as the minor places still need to be settled.
Great Britain 48–55 Japan
Japan set up a semi-final encounter with Canada after a well fought out 48-55 victory against the hosts Great Britain.
Paul Shaw’s GB started the game brightly and aggressively, and Japan firmly had their sights on keeping tabs on Ayaz Bhuta.
Japan's talisman Daisuke Ikezaki illegally wiped out twice Bhuta on two occasions in the opening few minutes, and GB capitalised on Ikezaki’s time spent in the penalty box.
Great Britain did however have a 10-7 lead at one stage, but some clever clock management from Japan in the final seconds meant that they were only one point behind after the first quarter at 13-12.
There was nothing to separate the two sides in the second quarter with both teams jostling to put some breathing space between themselves and their opponents.
Japan managed to gain the advantage with seconds remaining in the first half, and they took a two-point lead into the interval leading 26-28.
That slight advantage was enough of a platform to propel Japan into some excellent rugby as they put a clear gap in the score as they took a four-point lead into the final quarter.
Japan showed their quality in the final stages and showed with Ikezaki and Yukinobu Ike standing out as the star players in the game.
The result now leaves Great Britain to play South Africa on Thursday to decide what position they will compete for on the final day. Thursday's crossover schedule is as follows:
12:00 B3 GBR vs. A4 RSA
14:00 A3 NZL vs. B4 FRA
17:15 A2 USA vs.B1 AUS
19:45 A1 CAN vs. B2 JPN