[Colombo, Sri Lanka May 21, 2011]: Japan, Asia’s Rugby World Cup 2011 qualifying side, have clinched the HSBC Asian 5 Nations 2011 title for a fourth consecutive year beating Sri Lanka 90 – 13 today in Colombo.
Japan shook off some very humid conditions to win the HSBC A5N in style and make it a perfect 16 wins from 16 matches in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations since 2008. Japan’s HSBC Asian 5 Nations campaign was dedicated to the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and will do much to lift the spirits of Japanese rugby fans back home.
Japan opened the floodgates for a second consecutive week in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations this time behind five tries from centre Alisi Tupuailai earning him honours as the HSBC A5N 2011 top try scorer with nine tries from four matches. Tupuailai also ties the record for tries in an HSBC Asian 5 Nations match set last season by Kosuke Endo who scored five tries against Korea in Daegu in 2010. Tupuailai’s nine tries on the season are also the highest individual try tally in the Top 5 competition since the inception of the HSBC Asian Five Nations in 2008.
Behind Tupuailai in the top scoring honours in 2011 is up and coming winger Takehisa Usuzuki who added one try today to bring him to five for the tournament.
Japan captain Takashi Kikutani added a brace today along with firebrand scrumhalf Fumiaki Tanaka.
Other try scorers included veteran winger Hirotoki Onozawa, flanker Toetuu Taufa and flyhalf Shaun Webb whose try and three conversions brought him to 11 points today. Reserve flyhalf Atsushi Tanabe also notched a try and added seven conversions for 19 points on the day.
Sri Lanka put up a brave performance and even briefly led the match after an early try from winger Chula Susantha with a successful conversion from fullback Saliya Kumara. The hosts’ other points came through a drop goal by Sri Lankan scrumhalf Roshan Weeraratne, the only one in this year’s HSBC A5N Top 5 competition. Exciting winger Nuwan Hettiarachchi continued his fine tournament with a well-taken penalty.
Putting any points on the board against Japan is a creditable performance for the non-professional teams in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Top 5 and Sri Lanka will take heart from some strong outings in its first taste of Top 5 rugby.
Japan finished the HSBC Asian 5 Nations with a perfect record of 24 points from four wins and four bonus points for scoring four tries or more in each match. Hong Kong finishes in second place for the first time in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations on 17 points after their 62 – 3 rout of the UAE this afternoon in Hong Kong. UAE finishes in third on 8 points, followed by Kazakhstan on 6 points.
After brave performances throughout the campaign, Sri Lanka bows out of its first year in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Top 5 competition but Asian rugby fans have seen enough to know that the Lankans will be making a strong bid to return to the Top 5 in 2012.
Sri Lanka will be replaced by the winner of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division I Tournament between Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Division I tournament will be played on Wednesday, June 1 (Semi Finals between Korea and the Philippines and Singapore and Malaysia) and on Saturday, June 4, (Finals and 3rd/4th place play-off).
For more information please visit www.asian5nations.com.
Takehisa Usuzuki 1 Try, 5 points
Toetuu Taufa 1 Try, 5 points
Alisi Tupuailai 5 Try, 25 points
Fumiaki Tanaka 2 Try, 10 points
Shaun Webb, 1 Try, 3 Conversions, 11 points
Atsushi Tanabe, 1 Try, 7 conversions, 19 points
Takashi Kikutani, 2 Try, 10 points
Hirotoki Onozawa, 1 Try, 5 points
Japan – 90 Points
Chula Susantha, 1 Try, 5 points
Saliya Kumara, 1 Conversion, 2 points
Roshan Weeraratne, 1 Drop Goal, 3 points
Nuwan Hettiarachchi, 1 Penalty, 3 points
Sri Lanka – 13 points
Halftime Score: Sri Lanka 7 – 31 Japan
Fulltime Score: Sri Lanka 13 – 90 Japan
For more information on:
HSBC Asian 5 Nations/ARFU – contact Sean Moore, Tournament Operations Manager; Mob: +852 9095-8889 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org