Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: New Zealand too strong for Japan
Jay Doggett and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
New Zealand outplayed Japan and the writing was on the wall within four minutes when New Zealand scored an early try and converted to take a 7-0 lead. Smith scored for New Zealand and he no pressure on him because the Japanese defence was non-existent.
The next ten minutes saw very little apart from New Zealand missing a penalty. However, New Zealand once more broke free and Kahui like Smith found it all too easy but the conversion was missed and within minutes another try was scored by New Zealand.
Luckily, Slade once more missed the conversion despite the kick being relatively easy and clearly he needs to get his game together. After all, in a close match, then Slade can’t afford to be the weak link. Therefore, with Japan being 17-0 down after less than 25 minutes it was abundantly clear that the underdogs needed to focus otherwise the game would run up a cricket score.
However, no change and Japan really looked like minnows and lost against “the real big boys of rugby union.” This was further witnessed when another try was scored by New Zealand and with the conversion also converted then Japan were trailing 24-0 after 30 minutes. Yet there would be no respite and Ellis scored the fifth try a few minutes later and with the score being 31-0 then Japan just wanted half time to come in order to refocus.
Slade, who may have had early problems with kicking, had no problem with scoring the sixth try after Ellis made a nice pass to him. To make matters worse New Zealand were now scoring easily under the post and this meant that the conversion was easy. Therefore, New Zealand was matching the minute scoreboard and the lead now stretched to 38-0 shortly before half-time.
Straight away after the second-half began New Zealand ran at Japan and some sloppy play by Japan followed by a shockingly low pass and a handling error. New Zealand made early changes and this made sense because the game was already in the bag.
Within minutes of the change New Zealand scored again with Kahui scoring. Ominously, Slade now had his kicking boots back on and the cricket score was beginning to materialize with the score being 45-0.
Williams then scored under the post and the lead was now 52-0 with New Zealand scoring roughly one point per minute at this point. The game was no longer because now it was a training game for the All Blacks.
More alarming for Japan, this was the first game where one team had scored more than 50 points and other minnows up until now had played respectably. All the positives from the game against France were being blown away and another score made it 59-0.
However, the crowd erupted when Japan broke free from a mistake by New Zealand and scored for the first time in the game. 59-7 may not look good, and clearly it isn’t, but the crowd appreciated the score by Japan.
Sadly, the respite did not last long because Hore and Nonu both scored quick tries for New Zealand. Luckily Slade couldn’t convert either and the score was kept down to 69-7.
More changes were made by New Zealand and clearly the coach was focused on future games and creating a strong tight unit. However, all New Zealand players are strong and it made no difference to the game. Therefore, relentless All Black pressure continued and their shape looked perfect despite all the changes.
Thomson scored try number 12 for the All Blacks after a few minutes of quiet play and with the score reaching 76-7 then the cricket score had materialized. Within minutes another try was scored and the game would finish 83-7.
Overall, the game was too easy for New Zealand and nothing positive came out of the game for Japan. All the good work against France counted for nothing in this game because the All Blacks were a different kettle of fish.