Juniors too strong for Japan

Photosport     24 Jun 2007     Photosport

Scoring seven tries in the second half, with late replacement five-eighths Stephen Donald touching down twice in the last nine minutes, the Juniors had too much class for the home side.

Tied down by some determined Japanese play during the first half, the Junior All Blacks struggled to a halftime lead of 10-3 thanks to a 34th minute try to prop Wyatt Crockett.

Significantly, the try came after the Junior All Blacks forwards destroyed a Japanese scrum and moved the ball quickly. Wing Rudi Wulf and centre Ma'a Nonu combined to set up a midfield maul and when the ball was moved to the blindside it was Crockett on the receiving end to race down the sideline to score.

The Junior All Blacks hadn't put points on the board until the 32nd minute when first five-eighths Stephen Brett landed a penalty goal.

Six minutes into the game, Japan took the lead when its first five-eighths Eiji Ando landed a penalty goal.

However, the second half proved a vastly different exercise with second five-eighths Tane Tu’ipulotu stepping through the Japanese midfield to score and then from the restart left wing Anthony Tuitavake burst up the centre of the ground to open up the defences.

Support arrived quickly and it was Brett who wasn't held in the tackle to get up and score. His conversion took the Junior All Blacks to a 22-3 lead.

Tuitavake scored in the 57th minute after receiving a nicely-timed inside pass from Brett, while centre Nonu crossed after replacement back Donald marked his arrival on the field by stepping inside his marker and slipping a pass to flanker Daniel Braid.

The ball was moved to Tu'ipulotu and there was never a doubt that Nonu would score.

More solid lead-up work involving Tuitavake again resulted in a big gap opening for Donald and he scored with nine minutes left.


Junior All Blacks 51 (Wyatt Crocket, Tane Tu'ipulotu, Stephen Brett, Anthony Tuitavake, Ma'a Nonu, Stephen Donald 2, Rudi Wulf tries; Brett 2 con, pen; Stephen Donald 2 con) Japan 3 (Eiji Ando pen). HT: 10-3