Rugby League Around the Grounds
Poland were coming off an emphatic 62-6 win over Hong Kong, while Japan were looking to bounce back after a 0-60 thrashing against Turkey.
With Poland needing a win by over 14 points to seal first place in Group C, they needed to get off on the right foot.
The opening exchanges proved to be a tussle and it took ten minutes for Poland to cross the line.
James Usher opened the scoring for the Polska XIII, carrying over a Japanese defender to plant the ball down on the line to the left side of the posts, leaving a trail of defenders behind him
Ethan Niszczot would handle the kicking duties for Poland, with his first attempt sailing to the right for a 4-0 lead.
Poland would go back-to-back the very next set, with Harry Siejka leading his attack down the field with relative ease against a much smaller Japanese defensive line.
Siejka would get the ball on a block play and put Michael Bryan straight through the line for Poland’s second try of the game.
Niszczot would make no mistake this time from right in front to make it 10-0 after just 15 minutes.
Poland would then go for a long range effort off the back of a penalty.
Poland would spread it wide to the centre in Jamie Szczerbanik, who would break out of three different tackles before steamrolling the fullback to run 60 metres and score on the left flank.
Niszczot would make no mistake from the same spot where he missed his first attempt, giving Poland a 16-0 lead after 25 minutes.
Some desperate goal line defense would provide Japan with a few chances to counter attack, but Poland would yet again break through the line to score; this time on the right hand side.
The Japanese defense would be stretched thanks to some slick passing and a lovely inside step by Harry Siejka, before a cut out pass to his right, seeing Michal Maslanka go over with a textbook draw and pass from his inside centre.
Niszczot would make no mistake with a tough conversion from the right side touchline to make it 22-0, and Poland were not done just yet.
Poland would run down the left hand side through their debutant in Robert Niedzwiecki, before he would get collected well by the Japanese cover defense. A round of hot potato would ensure on the next play, with three Polish players having the chance to score before Nathan Michalowski darted under the posts to score.
Niszczot would sink the conversion from right in front to make it 28-0.
With what would be the last play of the half, Harry Siejka would gather a cut-out pass and make a pinpoint kick for his winger in Michael Maslanka to grab his second try of the half in the right hand corner.
A mirror-image conversion attempt from Niszczot on the right hand touchline would see the kick go straight through the posts and leave Poland with a 34-0 half time lead.
Japan would come out flying in the second half, earning themselves some great field position early on.
They would go down the short side late in the set and slide through two sets of hands to get the ball into Futoshi Kevino’s hands, who would plant down the ball on the right sideline.
Kevino’s try was to the delight of the crowd, erupting after witnessing Japan’s first try of the tournament.
Kevino would end up converting his own try with a beautiful conversion to make it 34-6 with seven minutes gone in the second half.
It would not take long for Poland to get their momentum back though, with a little bit of fortune coming their way.
Harry Siejka hit a crossfield bomb and it would hold up enough in the wind to bamboozle the Japanese defense.
The kick took a wicked right-turn bounce and Robert Niedzwiecki would plant the ball down perfectly to grab a try on debut.
Niszczot would sink the conversion to make it 40-6 with 25 minutes left in the game.
The rain began pounding down on the field now, making conditions quite tricky despite the artificial track, but Poland would grab themselves another try with a great kick from Harry Siejka.
His kick would set up Evan Artsivourtis for a lovely pick up and put down on the left side of the field with a touch over ten minutes to go.
Niszczot would start to make it look easy, even with the testing conditions as he converted the kick to make it 46-6.
Poland would go on to hit the half century as Ethan Niszczot took advantage of a few Japanese mistakes and missed tackles to bag himself a double within the last few minutes of the game on both sides of the field.
Niszczot would end up converting both tries to ensure that Poland would end up with a 58-6 win.
Poland – 58
Tries – Michael Maslanka (2), Ethan Niszczot (2), James Usher, Michael Bryan, Jamie Szczerbanik, Nathan Mikalowski, Robert Niedzwiecki, Evan Artsivourtis
Goals – Ethan Niszczot (9)
Japan – 6
Tries – Futoshi Karino
Goals – Futoshi Karino