Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rugby Test: Big clash between Korea and Singapore

Korea v Japan in Osaka (Asia 5 Nations)

Venue: Hanazono Stadium

Although unfair to giant-killers Kazakhstan and nearly giant-killers Hong Kong, this match is billed as the clash of the top teams in Asia.

Japan has been head and shoulders above all teams in Asia since this competition format began last year. Korea has come the closest, losing 17-39 in Seoul last year.

Korea has, first game excluded, struggled this year. They went down 27-30 to Kazakhstan away, and then nearly gave the game away against Hong Kong last weekend after a 31-3 half time lead. The problems encounted in those matches (ill-discipline and poor concentration) will be cruelly exposed by a fit and motivated Japanese team.

Japan can do little wrong. Coach John Kirwan has a vast reserve of quality players for this level of competition. I suspect he is already thinking ahead to sterner competition in the Pacific Nations cup next month.

Hirotoki Onozawa will be come the fourth Japanese rugby player to play 50 test for his country. He follows Daisuke Ohata (58 caps), Takeomi Ito (62) and Yukio Motoki (79).

Last Five Encounters
26.04.2008 Japan 39-17 in Seoul (Asia 5 Nations)
22.04.2007 Japan 82-0 in Tokyo (Asia Nations Div.1)
25.11.2006 Japan 54-0 in Hong Kong (WCQ Asia R3; 20th Asia Champ.)
23.04.2006 Japan 50-14 in Tokyo (WCQ Asia R4. Division 1)
15.05.2005 Japan 50-31 in Seoul (WCQ Asia Qualifying, Div.1)

Japan by a long length since 2002 when they lost by a point, with a second-string side, for the gold medal at the Asia Games.

GWC Rugby Rankings: Asia Table-Japan 1st, Korea 3rd.

Prediction: Japan by 50 points

Teams not available

For a complete list of international test rugby results for both Korea and Japan, go to

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