Impressive Japan bows out with third win

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Japan rounded off a memorable Rugby World Cup campaign with a third win from four games, beatin United States 28-18 as the curtain came down on the pool stage at Kingsholm.

Eddie Jones's men earned a place in rugby folklore with a sensational 34-32 triumph over South Africa in their opening match, yet came into Monday's (AEDT) game with no hope of reaching the quarter-finals after Scotland's victory over Samoa at St James' Park the previous day.

Nevertheless, Japan can look back with immense pride on its displays – having become the first team in history to be knocked out at the pool stage after claiming three victories.

Its latest triumph was relatively routine, tries from Kotaro Matsushima, Yoshikazu Fujita and Amanaki Mafi helping establish a comfortable cushion that was reduced in the closing stages.

United States, which finish the tournament pointless, was the first to score through a fifth-minute penalty from Alan MacGinty, but it was Japan wh\icho claimed the opening try – and a classy one at that.

Fujita made the initial break down the right wing, before the ball was worked quickly through the hands for Matsushima to go over in the left corner, with Ayumu Goromaru converting.

Japan surprisingly found itself behind when a delightful cut-out pass from Chris Wyles enabled Takudzwa Ngwenya to cross.

Yet there was an instant response as Fujita was driven over for Japan's second try upon the USA failing to collect the restart.

Another Goromaru conversion made it 14-8 and the full-back split the posts with a long-range penalty after 33 minutes to become the first Japanese player to pass 50 points in a World Cup.

Goromaru and MacGinty exchanged further three-pointers before the contest was effectively put to bed just after the hour mark.

American prop Eric Fry was yellow-carded for kicking the ball out of a ruck and Japan opted to go for touch before scoring easily from the resulting lineout through Mafi.

Saracens full-back Wyles claimed a consolation score in the right corner after a long pass from MacGinty, with the USA still down to 14 men.

MacGinty's conversion looked set to ensure the USA would claim its first and only pool-stage point as it moved to within seven of its opponents.

However, Japan earned another penalty with five minutes remaining and the reliable Goromaru – so impressive throughout the tournament – made no mistake.