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'That’s a first for me' - Japan's take on Courtney Lawes' freakish try

By Ian Cameron
Japan's New Zealander-born Japanese head coach Jamie Joseph looks on prior to the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between England and Japan at Stade de Nice in Nice, southern France on September 17, 2023. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Courtney Lawes bizarre try against Japan was the talk of the post-match press conference following Japan’s 34-12 loss to England in Pool D at Stade de Nice on Sunday.


The blindside’s comical try came in the second forty after he touched down after the ball after it had struck prop Joe Marler’s head. Lawes was the only player to play on after the ‘falcon’ and the Brave Blossoms were left blushing when the try was awarded on review.

It was something of a turning point in a match that had been close up until that point.

Head coach Jamie Joseph bemoaned his side’s lack of luck.

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Ireland post-match press conference after Tonga win
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Ireland post-match press conference after Tonga win

“That’s a first for me, man. Wow,” said Joseph. “We just didn’t have any luck. We blew one here with an overthrow at the lineout, there was a juggling act there by Joe. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck as well, we never got any of that today. I guess that was a fair try. What more can you say really?


“I’m incredibly proud of the guys in terms of how they tried to execute our plan. There were parts of the game that surprised England in terms of the kicking game, we put them under a lot of pressure and created opportunities for us.

“What we learned from that is the opportunities we created, we didn’t take them. We made too many mistakes.

“They are an experienced test rugby side and over the course of time they were able to wear us down. That’s the nature of our game at the highest level. It’s disappointing for us, the boys put a lot of emotional effort into this week.

Joe Marler
Joe Marler – PA

“We dealt with a lot of pressure, and that’s going to be crucial leading into the next two matches against Samoa and Argentina.

“We just made too may mistakes under the pump. A team like us from Japan, to take on a powerhouse like England, we’ve got to get all of this things right and we just didn’t do that. We paid the consequences for it.

“Guys made mistakes but we’re playing one of the best teams in the world at the World Cup. They players did their best to execute the plan, I thought it surprised England and created a little bit of pressure on them, but they’re a good side so they were able to adapt and come back at us.”


Japan winger Kotaro Matsushima blamed his side for a lack of street smarts surrounding the opportune 5-pointer.

“At that time we stopped playing, we thought it was a knock-on. We should have just kept playing,” said Matsushima. “That definitely changed the game. It’s not them, it’s more us. We have to just learn from that and keep going.”

additional reporting PA



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