Saturday, May 22, 2010

WORLD CUP RUGBY: Japan certain of Title and No.1 Spot

Hong Kong v Japan in Tokyo (WCQ Asia R2; Asia5Nations)

Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Stadium


Unless Hong Kong can produce a stunner of a performance, Japan will almost certainly go to the 2011 Rugby World Cup as Asia No.1. Japan has had the spot virtually wrapped up even before this tournament began. It is a worrying factor that Japan stands so far out from the pack. The other nations just do not seem to be catching up.

Hong Kong has had, apart from the loss to the Arabian Gulf a great season. They started with a convincing win over Korea and then defeated Kazakhstan 19-15 at home. But given those successes, Japan is in an Asia shelf all on its own. Even if John Kirwan placed his most inexperienced players on the paddock, it would still be enough to defeat Hong Kong.

Hong Kong will be without two stalwarts in the forwards. Prop Nigel Hobler, who scored a vital try against Kazakhstan and was one of the best of the forwards, is out with injury, and lock forward Simon Clarke has returned to England.

Previous Encounters
02.05.2009 Japan 59-6 in Hong Kong (Asia5Nations)
18.05.2008 Japan 75-29 in Niigata (Asia5Nations)
29.04.2007 Japan 73-3 in Tokyo (Asia Nations Div.1)
18.11.2006 Japan 52-3 in Hong Kong (WCQ Asia R3; 20th Asia Champ.)
08.05.2005 Japan 91-3 in Tokyo (WCQ Asia Qualifying; Div.1)

Hong Kong defeated Japan 17-16 back in 1998 in the Pacific Rim days, but not since.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Japan 13th, Hong Kong 27th
IRB Rankings: Japan 70.59,13th; Hong Kong 52.49, 26th
GWC Asia table-Japan 1st, Hong Kong 2nd.

Prediction: Japan by 50 points.



Hong Kong Squad
John Abel (DeA) 31
Timothy Alexander (Valley) 29
Alexander Baddeley (Valley) 29
Jack Bennett (Valley) 28
Colin Bisley (HKCC) 31
Renaud Chavanis (Valley) 29
Kenneth Chun Hang(Kowloon) 20
Charles French (HKFC) 26
Simon Hempel (HKCC) 30
Tsang Hing Hung (DeA) 24
Rory Hussey (HKFC) 32
Yiu Kam Shing (Valley) 22
Simon Leung (HKCC) 29
Kwok Ka Chun (Kowloon) 24
Alexander McQueen (HKCC) 22
Alex Ng Wai Shing (Valley) 21
Adam Raby (HKFC) 24
Keith Robertson (DeA) 23
Peter Spizzirri (HKFC) 35
James Stokes (Valley) 30
Rowan Varty (DeA) 24
Mark Wright (HKFC) 25

Head Coach: Dai Rees

Adapted from


15. Goshi Tachikawa (Toshiba) Age 33, 16 Tests
14. Alisi Tupuailei (Canon Eagles) 29, 5
13. Koji Taira (Suntory) 27, 20
12. Ryan Nicholas (Suntory) 30, 19
11. Kosuke Endo (Toyota) 29, 28
10. Shaun Webb (Coca-Cola) 28, 18
9. Fumiaki Tanaka (Sanyo) 25, 16
8. Ryuko Holani (Sanyo) 27, 8
7. Toetu’u Taufa (Kintetsu) 29, 12
6. Masakazu Toyota (Coca-Cola) 23, 8
5. Luke Thompson (Kintetsu) 29, 21
4. Hitoshi Ono (Toshiba) 31, 39
3. Shinsuke Nakamura (Suntory) 22, 4
2. Shota Horie (Sanyo) 24, 4
1. Hisateru Hirashima (Kobe) Age 27, 13 Tests
16. Hiroki Tuhara (Toshiba) 26, 2
17. Naoki Kawamata (Sanyo) 24, 5
18. Toshizumi Kitagawa( Toyota) 29, 27
19. Michael Leitch (Tokai University) 21, 9
20. Timoki Toshida (Toshiba) 28, 21
21. James Arlidge (Newport Gwent Dragons, Wales) 30, 19
22. Kaoru Matsushita (Toyota) 26, 3

Head Coach: John Kirwan

Adapted from

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