Sun, May 04, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Japan thrash Arabian Gulf in Asian Five Nations

AFP , HONG KONG AND OSAKA, JAPAN

Japan’s Yuta Imamura, center, runs in a try against the Arabian Gulf during their Asian Five Nations match at Hanazono Stadium in Higashi, Osaka, yesterday. Japan beat the Arabian Gulf 114-6.

PHOTO: AFP

Asian rugby heavyweights Japan scored 18 tries, including a hat-trick by left wing Hirotoki Onozawa, to demolish the Arabian Gulf 114-6 in an Asian Five Nations rugby match yesterday.

Japan grabbed the lead with just a minute gone on the clock, captain Takuro Miuchi’s try converted by stand-off James Arlidge, and never looked back.

Miuchi added another try in the 34th minute, and by the end of a lopsided encounter 13 different players had touched down, including substitutes Shaun Webb, with two, and Koji Shinozuka.

Full-back Bryce Robins also got a brace.

Arlidge converted eight from 12 attempts, while right winger Hiroki Yoshida cashed in four from six after Arlidge was replaced nearly halfway through the second half.

The Arabian Gulf managed to score two penalty goals in the fifth and 25th minutes by full-back Paul Beard.

It was a second straight win for Japan, following their 39-17 victory over South Korea a week ago, and a second consecutive defeat for the Arabian Gulf after their 20-12 defeat to Hong Kong last weekend.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong beat Kazakhstan 23-17 yesterday, keeping up the pressure on Japan.

The home side ran in three tries to two in hot conditions in the clash amid the city’s skyscrapers.

After trailing 13-3 at the end of the first half, the physically imposing Kazakhstan enjoyed early possession in the second half and made their territorial domination count in the ninth minute with a converted try by Maxim Lifontov to pull the score back to 13-10.

But Hong Kong hit back with tries for Simon Hempel and Jon Elliot to stretch the lead to 23-10.

With time running out for Kazakhstan, skipper Timur Mashurov was sin-binned and despite a late converted try by substitute Ivan Ossikovskiy, Hong Kong won by six points.

In a scrappy first half, Hong Kong opened the scoring with a Justin Temara penalty in the 13th minute but the visitors pulled level with a penalty by Lifontov in the 27th minute.

Hong Kong made late pressure count following the sin-binning of Akhmetzhan Baratov, Pete Spizzirri going over to score a converted try to add to an earlier Temara penalty.

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