Monday, May 6, 2013

Japan’s young guns help Brave Blossoms fire past South Korea in Week 3 of HSBC A5N Top 5

[Tokyo, Japan, 3 May 2013]: Japan kept up their domination of Asian rugby Saturday with a 64-5 win over South Korea at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground.

The Brave Blossoms' recorded their 23rd straight bonus-point win in the competition to head into their final game against the United Arab Emirates with an unassailable lead in this year's competition.

“I am very pleased with today's performance. It was a good first 40 minutes and although we got a little bit tired in the second half and were a bit flat, we finished well,” said Japan coach Eddie Jones.

Japan scored six tries in the first half to lead 40-0 at the break and ensure there was no way back for the visitors.

Kosei Ono got the scoreboard ticking over just 90 seconds after the kick-off before young wing Kenki Fukuoka got the crowd roaring with a brace in the space of three minutes.

2013 JAP-KOR Japan winger Kenki Fukuoka
Japan winger Kenki Fukuoka scored a second consecutive brace in this year's Top 5.

“The Japan players were quicker than we expected and we just couldn't cope early on,” said Korean captain Park Soon Chai.

Japan captain Takashi Kikutani then showed that the veterans still had plenty to offer, going over for a pair of tries of his own as the Japan pack starved the Koreans of any ball.

Yoshikazu Fujita rounded off the scoring in the first half with a well-worked try with Ayumu Goromaru adding a fifth successful conversion.

2013 JAP-KOR Yoshikazu Fujita
Yoshikazu Fujita breaks away from to score in Japan's 64-5 HSBC A5N Top 5 win over Korea.

With the hard ground taking its toll - “We had a few players cramp up,” said Jones – and the Koreans regrouping, the second half was a different affair.

Hendrik Tui extended Japan's lead before the visitors laid siege to the Japan line, only to be met with some resolute defence.

“Our defence got better and we got some ball and attacked in the second half,” said Park.

A penalty try and a five-pointer from Goromaru (who finished the day with seven conversions) saw Japan go 59-0 up before the Koreans were finally rewarded when Oh Youn Hyung crossed in the 77th minute.

Male Sa'u, however, ensured the day ended on a high for the hosts, making the most of some good play from the backs to go over in the final minute.

While Korea coach Park Ki Haeng was left to rue the absence of some key backs, Jones said he was happy with the effort put in by his team, adding that a number of younger players would be on the plane on Tuesday for the trip to Dubai.

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