In the 3rd round of the Asian Rugby Championship Japan comfortably beat Hong Kong 41-O at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, in Tokyo on Saturday May 2, 2015. For Japan, it was another bonus point victory by scoring seven tries. (They also had a bonus point after their first round opening match against South Korea which they won 56-30 in Incheon). Japan have now beaten both Hong Kong and South Korea and sit firmly at the top of the elite division of the Asian Rugby Championship with a maximum of 10points from their first two games.
For Hong Kong it was a tough game. Despite the scoreline, Hong Kong defended well, and disrupted the continuity of the Japan play, especially in the first half. After the disappointing loss to Korea last week, Hong Kong looked to this match to help rebuild confidence, and according to Andy Hall their coach, they were happy to take some positives from the game.
Japan opened the scoring after 15minutes with a try from the winger Akihito Yamada, and after 28 minutes Kane Hesketh added another. Both were converted by the fullback, Ayumu Goromaru, and Japan had a comfortable 14-0 lead by 30 minutes. They added one more before half time from Luke Thompson, and finished the half leading 19-0.
In the second half, Hong Kong had two players sin-binned, which tilted the balance of the game much more in Japan’s favour. Japan ran in four tries in the second half. The first by Yo Tamuru after 44 minutes; then another by Akihito Yamada on 48minutes; the number eight Ryu Koliniasi scored after 64 minutes, which Ayumu Goromaru converted; and the winger, Yoshikazu Fujitsu scored after 72 minutes making the final score 41-0.
It was the third quarter of the game that proved most expensive for Hong Kong. The early tries of the second half sealed the match.
Japan had only just returned from the UK as part of their preparation work for the Rugby World Cup later in the year and coach Eddie Jones alluded to their play as satisfactory work in progress, with the aim to peak in September-October. Japan has a bye next week before playing Korea and then finally Hong Kong later in the month.
For Hong Kong this was another hard match. Whilst the scoreline does not reflect their effort, it will have helped harden and season the team. There are no easy matches for Hong Kong. Next week they play South Korea again, this time in Korea. Hong Kong need to win, with a bonus point, to have any hope of securing the second place in the Championship this season.
Grahame Carder is a sports enthusiast and ?former player from representative Schoolboy level, through University and most corners where he’s lived. Currently works as Consultant on Strategy and Marketing.