November 6, 2017
Wallabies Beat Japan on Way to Europe
The Qantas Wallabies scored a comprehensive 63-30 victory over Japan at the venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final in Yokohama on the way to Europe for November Test series.
It was the fifth meeting between the two nations since 1975 but the first on Japanese soil, where a bulging home crowd saw the Brave Blossoms fight hard throughout the contest and pile on three second half tries to record their highest-ever score against the Wallabies.
The Australians simply had too much strike for the home side though, running in nine tries in an assured 33-point victory.
Tevita Kuridrani scored a hat-trick, while his centre partner Samu Kerevi got a double in a clash where the Wallabies were never seriously threatened by the Japanese side and produced some spectacular attacking Rugby.
After leading 35-3 at the end of a completely dominant opening half, Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper lamented his side's final 20 minutes.
"It was a really hard, fast game and it was hot out there early on. We were really happy with about 60 minutes of our game but we conceded those points late and we've got to be better than that," said Hooper.
"Well played to Japan. It was a great experience playing here. The fans were loud and you can feel how big its going to be here in two years time for the World Cup."
Stand-in fyhalf Reece Hodge was outstanding in his debut in the Wallabies number 10 jersey, directing traffic and knocking over a perfect nine-from-nine with the boot. Sean McMahon continued is strong season in the gold jersey and Kurtley Beale was again instrumental in attack in his new role from fullback.
It was Beale's cut-out pass that sent Kerevi over for his first to open the scoring in the 6th minute, then Hodge who found Speight on his inside for the second Wallabies try five minutes later.
Tatafu Polota-Nau then crashed over from a maul, and Kuridrani capitalised on a powerful run from McMahon to snare his first five-pointer in the 33rd minute. As the siren sounded for half time, Kuridrani dotted down again as he chimed in on an inside ball from winger Marika Koroibete.
Japan came out full of running to start the second stanza, and it was replacement backrower Wimpie van der Valt who eventually found the tryline. But three more strikes by the Wallabies, including a spectacular effort from Samu Kerevi snuffed out any hope of the home side mounting a challenge.
The Brave Blossoms kept up the fight though, and rewarded their energetic fans with two tries in the final 10 minutes through Melbourne Rebels import number eight Amanaki Mafi, and Kazuki Himeno.
The Qantas Wallabies will depart tomorrow for the UK to begin their Spring Tour campaign against Wales in Cardiff next Saturday (4am Sunday morning AEDT).
HOW IT HAPPENED:
6 min: Samu Kerevi try, Reece Hodge con AUS 7-0 JPN
11 min: Henry Speight try, Reece Hodge con AUS 14-0 JPN
17 min: Rikiya Matsuda pen AUS 14-3 JPN
24 min: Tatafu Polota-Nau try, Reece Hodge con AUS 21-3 JPN
33 min: Tevita Kuridrani try, Reece Hodge con AUS 28-3 JPN
40 min: Tevita Kuridrani try, Reece Hodge con AUS 35-3 JPN
44 min: Wimpie van der Walt try, Rikiya Matsuda con AUS 35-10 JPN
48 min: Rikiya Matsuda pen AUS 35-13 JPN
51 min: Samu Kerevi try, Reece Hodge con AUS 42-13 JPN
54 min: Rikiya Matsuda pen AUS 42-16 JPN
57 min: Tevita Kuridrani try, Reece Hodge con AUS 49-16 JPN
62 min: Nick Phipps try, Reece Hodge con AUS 56-16 JPN
65 min: Rob Simmons try, Reece Hodge con AUS 63-16 JPN
69 min: Amanaki Mafi try, Yu Tamura con AUS 63-23 JPN
80 min: Kazuki Himeno try, Yu Tamura con AUS 63-30 JPN
Australia 63 (Tevita Kuridrani 3, Samu Kerevi 2, Henry Speight, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Nick Phipps, Rob Simmons tries; Reece Hodge 9 cons) defeated Japan 30 (Wimpie van der Walt, Amanaki Mafi, Kazuki Himino tries; Rikiya Matsuda con; 3 pens; Yu Tamura 2 cons)