Japan overwhelm Kazakhstan in Five nations

Defending champions Japan trounced Kazakhstan 87-10 in the opener of the Asian Five Nations rugby tournament on Saturday.

Meanwhile South Korea, the runners-up in last year’s inaugural competition, whitewashed Singapore 65-0 in Seoul. Hong Kong are the other team taking part in the competition.

Despite the slippery conditions, Japan looked for width at every opportunity at Osaka’s Hanazono stadium and ran three early kickable penalties as they looked to open their account with a try.

The gamble paid off in the ninth minute when fly-half Shaun Webb broke from a scrum five metres out and fed centre Yuta Imamura, who crossed for his sixth Test-match try for Japan.

Webb made the conversion to put Japan 7-0 up. Webb was top-scorer with two tries and nine conversions before he was replaced by Tatsuhiko Otao in the 70th minute.

Imamura and full-back Ayumu Goromaru also scored two tries each, with Goromaru adding two more conversions after Webb was withdrawn.

Japan lock Luke Thompson, flanker Takashi Kikutani, scrum-half Yuki Yatomi, centre Bryce Robins, right winger Hiroki Yoshida and substitutes Michael Leitch and Jack Tarrant also got their names on the score-sheet.

Kazakhstan managed to score one try through centre Ildar Abdrazakov in the 44th minute. Denis Cherkashin’s one conversion and one penalty goal also added to the tally.

In the next games in the round robin competition, Japan will play Hong Kong away, while Kazakhstan will host South Korea, both on May 2.


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