Saturday, May 1, 2010

TEST RUGBY: Japan Begins Quest

Japan v Korea in Daegu (WCQ Asia R2; Asia5Nations)

Venue: Gyengsang Stadium


Last Five Encounters
16.05.2009 Japan 80-9 in Osaka (Asia5Nations)
26.04.2008 Japan 39-17 in Seoul (Asia5Nations)
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.)
22.04.2006 Japan 50-14 in Tokyo (WCQ Asia R4, Div.1)

Last week Korea took a young side south to Hong Kong and crashed 8-32. Yesterday the Arabian Gulf defeated Hong Kong in Bahrain 16-9. This has left the second spot in Asian rugby up for grabs. The second Asian team will contest a repechage spot in the Rugby World Cup qualifying rounds. Now all we need is for Korea to cause what would be a huge upset by defeating Japan at home Saturday. I can't see it happening.

Japan first played Korea in a full international in 1976, winning 11-3 at the 5th Asian Championship. Japan had first played Korea in 1969 at the 1st Asia Championship, but did not recognize the game as an official test. At that time, and for a number of years, Japan only recognized the final of the Asia Championship as an official test match. Korea has managed to defeat Japan in a full test match on a handful of occasions, the last being 21-17 in 1998.In recent times though japan has won this contest fairly easily.

Japan has a strong squad with a blend of experience and youth. It is crucial that Japan put up a good show against the Koreans, to win well and set fear into the hearts of the other competing nations. This they should do.

Without knowing the details of the Korean squad and assuming it wont be greatly changed from last weekend, their chances do not look good. The Koreans have traditionally put up a good fight at home against the Japanese but recent history suggests it will all be one way traffic-Japan steam rolling ahead.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Asia Table-Japan 1st, Korea 4th.

Prediction: Japan by 40 points.



Japan Squad
James Arlidge (Newport Gwent Dragons, Wales) Age 30, 16 tests
Kosuke Endo (Toyota) 29, 25
Nozomu Fujita (Honda Heat) 25, New cap
Kensuke Hatakeyama (Suntory) 24, 10
Hisateru Hirashima (Kobe) 27, 10
Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Sanyo) 28, 8
Shota Horie (Sanyo) 24, 2
Ryo Kanazawa (Ricoh) 28, New cap
Takashi Kikutani (Capt.) (Toyota) 30, 28
Toshizumi Kitagawa (Toyota) 29, 25
Takeshi Kizu (Tokai Univ) 21, 1
Michael Leitch (Tokai Univ.) 21, 9
Shinya Makabe (Suntory) 23, 1
Kaoru Matsushita (Toyota) 26, 2
Shinsuke Nakamura (Suntory) 22, 2
Yasunori Nagatomo (Suntory) 24, New cap
Ryan Nicholas (Suntory) 30, 17
Hitoshi Ono (Toshiba) 31, 37
Goshi Tachikawa (Toshiba) 33, 14
Koji Taira (Suntory) 27, 17
Fumiaki Tanaka (Sanyo) 25, 14
Toetu’u Taufa (Kintetsu) 29, 9
Luke Thompson (Kintetsu) 29, 18
Masakazu Toyota (Coca-Cola) 23, 5
Alisi Tupuailei (Canon Eagles) 29, 2
Sione Vatuvei (Sanyo) 27, New cap
Koji Wada (Toyota) 25, New cap
Shaun Webb (Coca-Cola) 28, 16
Ryohei Yamanaka (Waseda Univ.) 21, New cap
Tomoki Yoshida (Toshiba) 28, 20
Hiroki Yuhara (Toshiba) 26, New cap
Head Coach: John Kirwan (NZ).

From Ian McDonnell, RiJ Newsletter at


Korean Squad not yet available

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