Japan almost beats France, draw 23-23 in Paris

PARIS (AP) — Japan almost beat France for the first time and had to settle for a 23-23 draw in their rugby test on Saturday.

Japan scored three tries to two, and the last try in the 73rd minute, the equalizer by replacement prop Shintaro Ishihara. But flyhalf Yu Tamura couldn't convert it.

France won all three previous matchups with Japan easily, but the Tricolors are suffering from low morale after six consecutive matches without a win since the Six Nations. Coach Guy Noves tried to inject some life into the side by making eight changes after the drab loss to South Africa last week, but France was dominated by Japan. France has only three wins in 11 tests this year.

Japan, bolstered by an impressive 39-6 win over Tonga in Toulouse, made all the running at U Arena, pinning France in its own half and tearing through the French with panache. But 15 turnovers by Japan undermined its attack.

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