Japan smash Hong Kong to win Asian Five Nations

Japan claimed their fifth straight Asian Five Nations title on Saturday when they smashed Hong Kong 67-0 in Tokyo to remain unbeaten in the five-year history of the competition.

The rout was under way early, centre Yu Tamura finishing off a flowing move as the Japan forwards and backs linked at pace to create the overlap and open the scoring in just the fifth minute.

Three minutes later, a good break by stand-off Kosei Ono set up right flanker Takamichi Sasaki, who went over for Japan’s second try, and fullback Ayumu Goromaru added the extras to make it 12-0 with just nine minutes gone.

Ono extended Japan’s lead in the 17th minute. He spotted a huge hole on the blindside and went over unopposed from five metres out, after the Japan pack had committed the Hong Kong defence to the breakdown.

Winger Toshiaki Hirose crossed for Japan’s fourth try in the 27th minute, after Michael Leitch broke from a scrum five metres out.

Goromaru slotted the conversion to make it 24-0.

Hong Kong hooker Thomas Bolland was sent to the sin bin in the 30th minute for a late tackle and Japan made the extra man count five minutes later.

Japan forced a turnover and then spread the ball from side to side before Hirotoki Onozawa eased past the last defender to score his 50th test-match try in his 71st game for his country.

To their credit, Hong Kong held out for the rest of the half, as the teams turned around with Japan leading 29-0.

It took just three minutes of the second half for Onozawa to increase the lead, the wing taking a short pass from Atsushi Hiwasa to go over for test try No. 51.

Three minutes later the forwards got in on the act as they executed a perfect rolling maul to push Leitch over for Japan’s seventh try.

Shoji Ito came on as a replacement in the 50th minute and scored with his first touch of the ball as Japan closed in on the half century.

Goromaru duly brought up the 50 in the 58th minute when he sprinted over from halfway.

Even the loss of Leitch to the sin bin in the 66th minute couldn’t stop the Japan onslaught and further tries by Kensuke Hatakeyama and Ryuhei Arita closed out the game.

UAE, Kazakhstan and South Korea are the other teams in the Five Nations.

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