Two tries from New Zealand under-20 worldwide Tevita Li helped a World XV to beat Japan 31-28 in Osaka.
Regardless of rallying from 31-7 down within the second half on Friday, Jamie Joseph’s Courageous Blossoms had been unable to safe victory on the re-opening of Osaka’s Hanazono Rugby Stadium, which has seen main renovation work forward of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The World XV workforce, coached by former Australia head coach Robbie Deans, included former South Africa skipper Adrian Strauss and ex-New Zealand centre Ma’a Nonu in addition to present All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Their high quality shone via within the opening levels and a brace from Li in addition to 11 factors from Japan-based South African Lionel Cronje helped to provide the World XV a 24-point lead after 42 minutes.
Tries from Tim Lafaele and Lomano Lemeki dragged Japan again into the sport and when Suntory Sungoliath’s Ryoto Nakamura scored with six minutes remaining it appeared Japan may very well be on the point of a momentous comeback.