Japan blitz UAE in Asian Five Nations

Asian rugby powerhouse Japan blitzed the United Arab Emirates 111-0 to extend their phenomenal winning run in the Asian Five Nations, all but sealing a fourth consecutive title.

Friday’s result sees the Brave Blossoms lead the table with 18 points after three games. Effectively all that remains to be settled is who will finish as runners-up in the five-team league.

Japan took just three minutes to notch their first try, to James Arlidge, who racked up an impressive 29 points through the try and 12 conversions.

Four other Japanese players recorded double figures, including centre Ryan Nicholas, who picked up three tries and a conversion for 17 points.

Shaun Webb came off the bench at centre to notch two tries, while Kosuke Endo also picked up a brace. Winger Takeshi Usuzuki scored four tries.

“I am pleased with the performance, not just the result but more so that we kept our structure throughout the game. The UAE have really improved over the last two seasons, but we really hit our straps tonight,” said Japan coach John Kirwan.

“Before tonight’s game we were a long way off from where we wanted to be,” added Kirwan. “But tonight’s result will give us confidence to keep working hard as a team. I am very happy with the team’s attitude but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Match captain Hitoshi Ono, one of several players to have experienced personal loss in Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, was handed the captain’s armband.

“I hope that tonight’s result will bring some joy to the people of Fukushima and all Japan and that they will take hope from this,” he said.

Japan have won all 15 of their Five Nations matches since the tournament was launched in 2008. They have won a bonus point in every game.

Hong Kong and the UAE face off next weekend in Hong Kong, gunning for second spot in the table.

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