Unbeaten Japan hammer Kazakhstan in Asian 5 nations

Japan continued their unbeaten run in the Asian 5 Nations with a convincing 82-6 away win over Kazakhstan here on Saturday.


The visitors, who last weekend hammered the amateurs of the Arabian Gulf 114-6 ran in 12 tries, 11 of which were converted.


The opening five minutes saw Kazakhstan defend well, but under immense pressure, it was only a matter of time before Japan scored, and it came with a well worked try by Ryan Nicholas in the seventh minute.


The Japanese pack scrummed well and sent a message of intent from the first set piece, sending the Kazakhstan pack backwards.


Tongan-born Japanese number 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani was destructive with every opportunity he got, scattering the Kazakh players who dared get in his way.


His running was the catalyst for several of Japan’s tries and he got on the score sheet himself in the 13th minute after a quick tap penalty, James Arlidge converting the first of six conversions for the afternoon, including two from the touchline.


Kazakhstan defended bravely throughout, but were constantly under pressure. They were never able to put the ball in front of their backs and were camped in their own half for the majority of the game.


The Japanese ran in tries at will from all over the park, but they will be disappointed at several opportunities left on the field. Some more generous passing would have seen them score over a 100 points but dogged defending kept the Kazakhstan team going.


Twelve tries would seem a good result, but in truth there was much more to take. The most crucial period of the game saw Kazakhstan leak almost 20 points in the 10 minutes before half time.


Kazakhstan were simply outclassed as the superior conditioning, lines of running and confidence saw Japan tear their backline to shreds.


Kazakhstan simply had no creative options when they had the ball, although their jumpers posed problems for the Japanese in the line-outs. They finished the game with six points from the boot of full-back Maxim Lifontov.


“Of course, Japan play on another level and we knew realistically that we could not win, but I am disappointed that we lost by so much,” said Kazakhstan coach Valeriy Popov.


“What was encouraging was that we kept going and never gave up.”


Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com

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