Sun, Nov 04, 2018 - Page 11 News List

All Blacks’ rampant reserves annihilate Japan in Tokyo

Reuters, TOKYO

All Blacks lock Jackson Hemopo, top left, catches the ball during their international Test match against Japan in Tokyo yesterday.

Photo: AFP

A second-string All Blacks side featuring eight debutants crushed Japan 69-31 yesterday in a thriller of a try-fest in Tokyo, with center Ngani Laumape running in a hat-trick for the world champions.

Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga scored one of New Zealand’s 10 tries and kicked a penalty and seven conversions for 22 points as they taught next year’s World Cup hosts a lesson in front of a record crowd for a rugby match in Japan of 43,751.

Hooker Dane Coles nabbed New Zealand’s first try on his return to the side after almost a year out with injury, while winger George Bridge scored a brace, including one with his first touch as an All Black.

Japan were lively in attack and scored five tries to contribute to the 100-point tally for the match, but could not contain the All Blacks in defense, missing 25 tackles on the way to an overwhelming defeat.

“There was a fair amount of risk going into this game, but we felt that the rewards were going to be a lot bigger than the risk if we got things right,” New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen said.

“A number of players tonight have done themselves very proud,” he added.

The crowd at Ajinomoto Stadium were allowed to dream of an improbable victory when lock Samuela Anise charged down Jordie Barrett’s kick to score the first try of the game after five minutes.

However, the All Blacks soon surged into gear and after Coles went over in the corner following a fine pass from Laumape, they were in control.

Mo’unga broke through a Japanese tackle to score his first All Blacks try on 20 minutes before Laumape opened his account to give New Zealand a 24-7 lead after half an hour.

However, tries from Japan No. 8 Hendrik Tui and center Timothy Lafaele either side of Laumape’s second and a maiden score for All Blacks scrumhalf Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi meant that the hosts kept the halftime score respectable at 38-19.

Bridge, a halftime replacement, scored the try of the game with his first touch as a test player following a quick break from Mo’unga.

Tries from winger Waisake Naholo and center Matt Proctor, as well as further scores from Laumape and Bridge, piled on the points to give a fair reflection of New Zealand’s dominance.

The home crowd were treated to the final try of the match, a second from Lafaele with 10 minutes remaining, as Japan amassed their highest points tally against the All Blacks.

During their three previous meetings with New Zealand, Japan had lost by an average of 84 points, so the margin of defeat was perhaps a sign of improvement one year out from the World Cup, where on this display they will threaten any defense.

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