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The United States credit 'a little more belief' for RWC win over Japan

By AAP
The USA on the attack against Japan in the Rugby World Cup.

The U.S. have bounced back from their opening Women’s Rugby World Cup loss to Italy by beating Japan 30-17 in Group B action in Whangarei.

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The United States have finally clicked into gear with almost three quarters of the match behind them to beat Japan 30-17 and boost their quarter-final hopes at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Japan produced an outstanding performance to lead 5-3 at halftime after facing a strong wind through the first spell.

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The U.S. seized their first lead with a try to Joanna Kitklinski in the 45th minute but Japan responded with a five-pointer to winger Hinano Nagura to lead 10-8 with 30 minutes remaining.

After a 22-10 loss to Italy in the first round of group matches last weekend, the Americans had to win in Whangarei to keep their chances alive of progressing to the knockout rounds.

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The U.S. attack was sluggish in the first 50 minutes but it finally came together and finished with three tries and 17 unanswered points.

Japan winger Komachi Imaguchi scored a brilliant solo try four minutes from fulltime but the United States extended their lead with a late penalty.

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“We just came out with a little more belief this time around,” U.S. captain Kate Zackary said.

“We came here to have a performance today, we needed a performance and the girls showed up. We needed to shine in that second half and every player did, one through 23.”

Japan are winless after two games in Group B, losing to Canada in their first match.

Later on Saturday, top-ranked England and fourth-ranked France will meet in Group C action. Both won their opening matches as expected; France impressive in a first-up 40-5 win over South Africa while England stole the show in last weekend’s first round with an 84-19 thrashing of Fiji which enhanced their status as tournament favourites.

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