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
“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
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
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.
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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