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Watch: The try that inspired a 31-point second half Kinetsu Liners comeback

By Ned Lester
Saia Fifita in action for Japan. Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Hanazono Kintetsu Liners entered Friday night’s contest with Kobelco Kobe Steelers with nothing to lose, sitting bottom of the Japan Rugby League One table with not a win to their name.

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The poor record with just one week remaining in the regular season of the competition has seen the Liners’ fate sealed, the club will play Division Two’s Finalization victor for their place in Division One.

An injury to world-class first five-eighth Quade Cooper was an almighty blow for the Liners’ 2022-23 season ambitions before the season had even begun, but halves partnership of Wallaby legend Will Genia and former Hurricanes No 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop rallied their team for an exceptional comeback in round 15.

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Down 26-3 at halftime, Genia and Garden-Bachop came out for the second 40 with renewed intensity and orchestrated a fine try just four minutes into the second half.

The try was finished by Siosaia Fifita, who ran a perfect line to slice through the Kobe Steelers’ defence and went on to win man-of-the-match.

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The try inspired a miraculous comeback, the Liners fought back to claim a one-point victory by scoring off a lineout drive in the 79th minute and Garden-Bachop calmly converting the required two points for a final score of 34-33.

The previous encounter between the two teams was also a high-scoring affair, Kobe piled on 58 points thanks to hat-tricks to halfback Daiki Nakajima and the now-injured Ngani Laumape.

Quade Cooper, who has been operating as an extra assistant coach while rehabbing his Achilles injury, was on hand to congratulate his side at the final whistle.

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