All Blacks swamp lively Japan

Ngani Laumape 1566173620

It was an effective advertisement of the depth available to New Zealand, not only because of the result but in the skills they were able to show in containing an enthusiastic home side in front of 46,000.


Japan scored the first try but Luke Whitelock's side were unflustered and took command during the first half, getting out to a 38-19 lead by halftime. Second five-eighths Ngani Laumape stood out with a hat-trick of tries but replacement wing George Bridge took his chance with some outstanding running to score two tries.

First five-eighths Richie Mo'unga was strong on the break and in controlling play while he enjoyed good service from halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi while centre Matt Proctor thrived on his opportunities. Lock Jackson Hemopo had a powerful game around the field while hooker Dane Coles demonstrated he was well on the way back to peak fitness.

From the restart of Mo'unga's second minute penalty goal, fullback Jordie Barrett had his clearing kick charged down by lock Sauela Anise and he charged through in pursuit of the ball to claim the try.

Mistakes continued as from the restart Japan secured the ball and fired into action looking for breakthroughs but the All Blacks defence held. But Mo'unga then erred in kicking too long for the corner from a penalty.

Hurricanes know-how produced the first try for the All Blacks in the 14th minute Proctor was fed into space by Barrett. He passed inside to wing Nehe Milner-Skudder. He took the ball into the 22m area and after Hemopo charged into the goalmouth and from the ruck Laumape flung a long pass to the left flank where Coles marked his return with a try.

Putting their forward strength to use, the All Blacks took on Japan with prop Ofa Tuungafasi and Whitelock taking the ball forward before from a ruck close to the line Mo'unga stepped through two defenders to score in the 19th minutes.

Aimless kicking by Japan from their own half opened up a chance which Milner-Skudder, Barrett and wing Waisake Naholo turned to advantage. Naholo kicked ahead into space and the bounce favoured New Zealand with Laumape getting the ball and scoring in the 27th minute.

With the All Blacks guilty of failing to control the ball, and pushing too hard to move it resulted in a turnover just out from the line allowing No.8 Hendrik Tui to be awarded the try.

However, the margin was extended moments later after short passes on the blindside resulted in Naholo throwing an infield pass which rebounded off a Japanese player allowing Tahuriorangi to pick it up and run in under the goalposts to score.

Three minutes later from a lineout resulting from a penalty, the All Blacks worked a set move from the lineout with Mo'unga slipping a short pass to Laumape running his line at speed to go into the tackle and then out again to score.

But just as the halftime hooter sounded, a lineout drive launched by Japan worked its way ahead and when the ball came out second five-eighths Tim Lafaele did enough, in spite of being driven in tackles to get enough of the ball on the chalk to score a try.

Japan looked to maintain momentum at the start of the second half, but at their best chance, from a repeat lineout drive close to the line, they failed to secure the ball and Coles took it for New Zealand to clear. After winning the Japan lineout throw through lock Patrick Tuipulotu, the All Blacks moved the ball.

Mo'unga and Tahuriorangi worked the blindside and when the halfback could look inside or our, he passed inside where Bridge crossed in the 46th minute.

But consecutive penalties conceded by the All Blacks allowed Japan to attack the line and while solid defence denied them initially, the ball was cleared and on a double round move first five-eighths Yu Tamura kicked to the corner where wing Jamie Henry scored.

Refreshed by their substitutes the All Blacks took more control and Barrett recovered from another charged down kick by putting a kick across to Bridge's left wing. He kicked ahead, regained the ball and had Proctor inside him to run in his first try.

More good chasing by Bridge from a downfield kick resulted in Japan conceding a penalty and from a quick tap the ball was moved to the flank where Laumape got the ball, kicked to the in-goal and won the race to the touchdown.

It was Laumape who slipped a kick through for Bridge, who toed the ball on and touched down for his second.

Michael Leitch, playing on the blindside flank, was outstanding for Japan and it was his charge in the 68th minute that set up a chance which saw them work the ball through the short side with in-passing seeing Lafaele score his second.

Scorers: Japan 31 (Sauela Anise, Hendrik Tui, Tim Lafaele 2, Jamie Henry tries; Vu Tamura 3 con) New Zealand 69 (Dane Coles, Richie Mo'unga, Ngani Laumape 3, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, George Bridge 2, Waisake Naholo, Matt Proctor tries; Mo'unga 7 con, pen; Jordie Barrett con). HT: 19-38

Ngani Laumape 1566173620


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