Japan overpowers Romania 33-21

KUMAMOTO, Japan (AP) — Michael Leitch scored a second-half try as Japan beat Romania 33-21 on Saturday in a rugby test match.

Romania had an early 6-0 lead with two long-range penalties from Florin Vlaicu.

But Japan took control when Akihito Yamada sprinted over from 30 meters in the 12th minute and Kenki Fukuoka added another try 10 minutes later.

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Jumpei Ogura converted both tries and added a penalty as the hosts took a comfortable 23-9 lead at halftime.

"The game played out as we expected," Japan coach Jamie Joseph said. "On one side of the ledger you had big guys playing a set-piece-orientated game that put us under pressure. We were able to play our style and fortunately we came out on top."

Leitch, Japan's captain at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, gave Japan a 28-9 lead only 90 seconds after the break.

Mihai Macovei and Sione Fakaosilea scored second-half tries, converted by Vlaicu, as Romania fought back in the final 30 minutes.

Romania threatened to close the gap to just one score but Japan defended well.

"The heat and humidity was a big factor," said Romania coach Lynn Howells. "The players found it very difficult in the first 30 minutes and our communication and defense suffered."

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