Sun, Nov 28, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Wales gains massive win over Japan

RUGBY UNION INTERNATIONAL Japan, which lost to Scotland 100-8 two weeks ago, avoided conceding another century as Wales ran up a final score of 98-0

AP , CARDIFF, WALESAP, ROME

Jonathan Thomas, center, of Wales, is tackled by Japan's Takashi Yamaoka, left, and Hideyuki Yoshida during their match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales on Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Captain Colin Charvis scored four tries and Wales thrashed Japan 98-0 for its biggest ever win in a rugby union match on Friday at Millennium Stadium.

Japan, which lost to Scotland 100-8 two weeks ago, barely avoided conceding another century as Wales eclipsed the 91-point margin from its record 102-11 win over Portugal 10 years ago in a World Cup qualifier.

Charvis achieved the most tries ever by a Welsh forward, and flyhalf Gavin Henson converted all 14 tries, another Welsh record.

Center Tom Shanklin added three tries -- his second hat trick this month -- fullback Rhys Williams and wing Shane Williams crossed twice each, and prop Gethin Jenkins, scrumhalf Gareth Cooper and hooker Mefin Davies also touched down.

Wales would have claimed its highest score but replacement winger Kevin Morgan had a try disallowed in the game's final move.

After only three minutes, Wales drove from a lineout and flanker Charvis stretched to score. Wales racked five converted tries after 20 minutes and led 56-0 at halftime.

Charvis ran in his fourth five minutes after the break before Japan managed to keep Wales scoreless for 10 minutes until Cooper resumed the romp to the entertainment of a crowd of 56,000 -- more than attended the 38-36 loss to Tri-Nations champion South Africa three weeks ago.

"Overall, I think we delivered on what we wanted to deliver, playing with a high tempo and an excitement that brings the public in," said Wales coach Mike Ruddock.

In its November schedule, Wales also lost to New Zealand 26-25, and beat Romania 66-7, but its open game has helped set up a much anticipated Six Nations opener against World Cup champion England in Cardiff on Feb. 5.

"This team can still grow, and there is no doubt that this time next year we will be a better team," Ruddock said. "We are not world-beaters, there is a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead, but we have made progress."

A young Japanese squad completed its three-match tour of Europe. Last week it lost to Romania 25-10.

Hooker Fabio Ongaro will lead Italy for the first time and the US brought in flanker Jurie Gouws for their rugby union test at Bella in Piedmont today.

Ongaro, with 25 caps since 2000, takes over the captaincy from Mauro Bergamasco, who with three others was unavailable because of club commitments.

Italy coach John Kirwan made seven changes to the side which was beaten 59-10 by New Zealand two weeks ago.

Calvisano lock Valerio Bernabo will make his debut beside Cristian Bezzi in a new second row, and the flankers were also cleaned out. Treviso loosies Silvio Orlando and Enrico Pavanello replaced Bergamasco and New Zealand-born Aaron Persico.

Luciano Orquera of Petrarca will start at flyhalf for his third cap, and Cristian Stoica at inside center for his 61st. Walter Pozzebon moved from the left wing against the All Blacks to center, and South African-born Roland De Marigny pushed Kaine Robertson from fullback to the wing.

Santa Monica's Gouws was the only forced change to the Eagles after Tony Petruzzella wasn't considered because of a shoulder injury against Ireland.

The US held Ireland for an hour then ran out of gas and lost 55-6 last weekend.

"I've been pleased with the energy and focus the squad has shown in our second week leading up to this historic test," said US coach Tom Billups.

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