Japan end Georgia's streak
REPORT: Japan kicked off their European tour with a confident 28-22 win over Georgia at Tbilisi's Mikheil Meskhi Stadium on Saturday.
The 2019 World Cup hosts, who produced the biggest shock in World Cup history last year when they beat giants South Africa 34-32 in the pool stage, will now head to Wales and also play Fiji in France.
The Japanese, easily beaten at home by Argentina last week, started in lively fashion with utility back Kotaro Matsushima crossing for a try in the eighth minute before flyhalf Yu Tamura added a penalty.
But the home team, on an eight-game winning streak, fought back through Vito Kolelishvili and scrumhalf Vasil Lobzhanidze, who each landed a try, while fullback Merab Kvirikashvili added a conversion to give Georgia a 12-8 lead at half-time.
Wing Lomano Lemeki restored Japan's lead with a try four minutes after the interval but Georgia replied with a try by flank Beka Bitsadze, Kvirikashvili hitting the extras and a penalty for a 22-13 advantage.
Japan picked up steam as Lemeki chalked up his second try, Tamura bagging the extras before wing Kenki Fukuoka also crossed the whitewash to hand the visitors a narrow lead.
Tamura rounded off the scoring with a penalty goal with five minutes to go.
Georgia, who also enjoyed a good World Cup with victories over Tonga and Namibia to ensure their participation in the 2019 edition, are currently 11th in the world rankings and will take on Samoa in Tbilisi before playing Scotland at Kilmarnock's Rugby Park.
Tries: Kolelishvili, Lobzhanidze, Bitsadze
Cons: Kvirikashvili 2
Tries: Matsushima, Lemeki 2, Fukuoka
Pens: Tamura 2
Georgia: 15 Merab Kvinkashvili, 14 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 13 Davit Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Giorgi Aptisauri, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Mekheil Nariashvili, 7 Jaba Bregvadze, 6 Levan Chilachava, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 Mamuka Gorgodze, 2 Vito Kolelishvili, 1 Beka Bitsadze.
Replacements: 16 Badri Alkhazashvili, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Lasha Lomidze, 20 Giorgi Tkhilashvili, 21 Giorgi Begadze, 22 Lasha Malaguradze, 23 Anzor Sitchinava.
Japan: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Karne Hesketh, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Satoshi Nakatani, 7 Shota Horie, 6 Heiichiro Ito, 5 Kotaro Yatabe, 4 Kyosuke Kajukawa, 3 Malgene Ilaua, 2 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 1 Amanaki Mafi.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Hino, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Yasuo Yamaji, 19 Smuera Anise, 20 Uwe Helu, 21 Keisuke Unchida, 22 Amanaki Lotoahea, 23 Kenki Fukuoka.
Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)