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Japan Beats Kazakhstan 87-0 in HSBC Asian Five Nations

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Japan opened the Eddie Jones era with an emphatic 87-0 win over Kazakhstan on Saturday to begin their defense of the HSBC Asian Five Nations.

The four-time champions scored 13 tries to maintain their record of picking up a bonus-point win in every game they have played in Asia’s premier rugby tournament.

Hirotoki Onozawa touched down three times to make it 46 tries from 69 tests and Ayumu Goromaru scored two tries and 11 conversions as Japan picked up their 17th straight HSBC A5N victory.

“I thought we played well for about 25 minutes,” said Jones. “The boys got tired but we expected that because of the amount of training we have been doing. Overall I’d give us a four-out-of-seven.”

With new scrumhalf Jun Fujii providing quick service from the breakdown, Japan kept the ball alive from the kickoff for eight phases before Yu Tamura opened the scoring in just the second minute.

Kosei Ono and Ayumu Goromaru followed Tamura into the scorebook as Japan averaged a point-a-minute early on.

But with the players still adapting to the style Jones wants them to play, unforced errors crept into the Japan game.

Hirotoki Onozawa and Tomohiro Senba closed out the half with tries as Japan led 35-0 at the break, but the Japan coaching team weren’t happy, particularly with the breakdown.

“The second man is too slow and we are not getting quick ball,” assistant coach Masahiro Kunda said as the teams returned to the paddock in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 3,000.

The second stanza started as the first with Japan scoring two quick tries through Kensuke Hatakeyama and Goromaru.

That gave Jones the chance to go to the bench, and ensure 10 players finished the day having made their test match debuts. But it was one of the veterans who stole the show as Onozawa crossed for two more tries to go sixth on the all-time list of test-match try scorers alongside Joe Rokocoko.

Japan’s other tries came from Fujii, Takamichi Sasaki, Toshiaki Hirose and Yasunori Nagatomo as Japan went top of the standings.

“I was really pleased with the intent of the players,” said Jones. “We were slow in support at the breakdown in the first half but it got better in the second half. We missed four or five opportunities to score so if we tidy that up we will be taking a step in the right direction.”

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