Kirwan dismayed by Japanese indiscipline despite victory

Asian champions Japan scored seven tries to fend off a late challenge from South Korea for a 39-17 win in the opener of the inaugural Asian Five Nations rugby tournament on Saturday.

Japan dominated the first half 29-0 but team coach John Kirwan was not satisfied with his team’s performance, saying his players had failed to keep their discipline in the second half.

“I was disappointed that they couldn’t show what they have done in the past 10 days. Our team’s performance was not so good overall,” said Kirwan.

“It’s important that we must keep our discipline when we are leading and play solid. Our scrum and line-out were good, but it was disappointing that we lost the ball soon after that.

“We had some new players today, but the experienced players couldn’t lead them. We must learn a lot more,” added Kirwan.

Try-scorer James Arlidge, who missed the World Cup due to an injury, converted two of his seven conversion attempts.

Substitute Tatsuya Kusumi added two more tries in the second half, but that completed the scoreline for the visitors.

Right flanker You Young-Nam started the Korean comeback with a try in the 52nd minute with substitute stand-off Hong Jun-Ki converting the following goal to trail 7-34.

Hong added a penalty in the 67th minute for 10-39 and then converted right centre Kim Sung-Soo’s 84th-minute try in injury time – but the game was already lost.

Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and Arabian Gulf are taking part in the competition with the Asian champions playing the Arabian selection on May 3 in Osaka and South Korea against the same opponents on May 9 in their next appointments.

The bottom team of the competition will be relegated to division one next season.


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