All Blacks XV finish Japan tour unbeaten

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In humid, sticky conditions the All Blacks XV were more ambitious and expansive than what they were last Saturday and cut the hosts open with six tries.

Centre Billy Procter enjoyed one of his most memorable outings with a quartet of tries - three in the first half.

Fullback Ruben Love was illusive throughout and his bust in the middle of the field in the ninth minute was supported by Jona Nareki who didn’t panic when tackled, casually popping the ball to Procter.

Procter completed his double when vibrant halfback Brad Weber tapped and shifted to Jack Goodhue who run directly into the teeth of defense before wriggling his arms free in contact.

Procter’s third try was possibly the best of the match. A lovely pass from Goodhue released the rampant Nareki who found Procter running a perfect support line at the 22. However, Love might dispute that claim. He retrieved his own kick from the 22 and then chipped from halfway for AJ Lam to rundown.

First-Five Stephen Perofeta is renowned for his running game, and he fooled the Japanese defense with quick footwork and a dummy. His bullet pass early in the second spell was the source of Procter’s fourth.

Japan finished strongly with Semisi Masirewa, a longtime regular in New Zealand first-class rugby, scoring two quick tries. 

Greater physicality from the pack and a typical array of speedy angle changes and nimble handing caused the All Blacks XV genuine troubles. 

Had Japan been more accurate in the last 15 minutes the climax might have been more intense.

Lock Naitoa Ahi Kuoi, and tighthead Jermaine Ainsley enhanced their growing reputations with productive and powerful displays. Hooker George Bell had a solid debut and openside Billy Harmon is underrated.

Marc Ellis scored six tries for the All Blacks against Japan in the 1995 World Cup.

All Blacks XV: 41 (Billy Proctor 4, Stephen Perofeta, AJ Lam tries; Perofeta 4 con, pen) Japan: 27 (Kotaro Matsushima, Semisi Masirewa 2 tries; Lee Seung-Sin 2 pen, 2 con) HT: 29-13


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