Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 18 May 2021


3,988 Views 1 Comment

New Zealand ran in 13 tries against Japan in Hamilton this morning.

Send us your thoughts and comments on the game — or on anything else Rugby World Cup-related that you’d like to get off your chest.

E-mail, tweet us @thescore_ie, find us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

FT: New Zealand 83-7 Japan

Morning all, and welcome to’s minute-by-minute coverage of New Zealand vs Japan.

We’ve had the Haka, so we’re just about ready to go. I’ll grab the team-sheets and we’ll get motoring.

New Zealand: Toeava; Jane, Smith, Nonu, Kahui; Slade, Ellis; Woodcock, Mealamu, Franks; Thorn, Whitelock; Kaino, Thomson, Vito.

Japan: Ueda; Usuzuki, Taira, Imamura, Onozawa; Williams, Hiwasa; Kawamata, Aoki, Fujita; Ono, Kitagawa; Taniguchi, Leitch, Kikutani.

No McCaw and no Carter for the All Blacks, but their team still oozes absolute class.

Japan’s Man of the Match versus France, James Arlidge, hasn’t even made the squad.

TRY! (Smith, 4′) New Zealand are absolutely ruthless, there’s no denying that. They win turnover ball just inside their own half which gives their front five a platform to launch an attack with some excellent handling. They fling the ball out to Nonu who races towards the line before popping to Smith on his shoulder who strolls over for the game’s opening score. Slade adds the extras. New Zealand 7-0 Japan

Silly penalties are something that Japan could do without this morning, but Nigel Owens has already pulled them up for a simple offside directly in front of their posts. Colin Slade steps up…

MISSED PENALTY! (Slade, 9′) And misses. Not for the first time, I find myself typing the words “what an awful miss.” Needless to say, that guy who normally plays at out-half for the All Blacks wouldn’t have missed that one.

If you watched Japan against France last Saturday, and you’re wondering why you don’t recognise any of the players, I believe coach John Kirwan has made ten changes to his side. What’s the Japanese for “rolling over?”

I jest. Obviously he’s keeping his players for the games against Tonga and Canada.

TRY! (Kahui, 16′) Try time in Hamilton, and it’s Richard Kahui who goes over in the corner. New Zealand control the ball in the ruck and have all the time in the world to line up their backs. Once the ball is dug out by Ellis, it’s fired across the pitch at ferocious pace. Toeava plays the final ball out to Kahui and the winger holds off the final defender to touch down.

Slade can’t quite get a tough conversion on target. New Zealand 12-0 Japan

TRY! (Kaino, 21′) Excellent play by Cory Jane who leaps to pull down Toeava’s pass and stops it from going into touch. He’s driven to within millimetres of the line by the pack before Kaino picks off the back of the ruck and powers over right in the corner.

Slade steps up. Slade misses.  Plus ça change. New Zealand 17-0 Japan

I’m sure this would have gone without saying, but Nigel Owens is being his usual fussy self all over the pitch.

He’s a bit reluctant to sin-bin anybody though, despite quite a large amount of silly and cynical penalties.

TRY! (Mealamu, 29′) Watching the All Blacks in full flight really is a thing of beauty. Nonu and Jane are both playing out of their skin and it is their industry and flawless handling out left which takes New Zealand deep into Japanese territory. The ball is worked to the opposite flank just as quickly where the front five are queuing up for a chance to go over. That honour goes to hooker and local boy Kevin Mealamu, much to the delight of the crowd.

And, wonder of wonders, Colin Slade tacks on the extras. Now we’re really motoring. New Zealand 24-0 Japan

TRY! (Ellis, 34′) It’s all far too easy for the All Blacks at the moment as they run in try number five. Conrad Smith bursts through two tacklers as if they aren’t even there and then rolls it back inside to scrum-half Andy Ellis on his shoulder. So, so basic, but so effective. Slade kicks the extras from underneath the posts. New Zealand 31-0 Japan

TRY! (Slade, 36′) The tries are coming faster than my fingers can type, and this is now a rout by anyone’s definition of the word. The back-line move is executed at destructive pace, carrying the All Blacks from deep within their own half. As always, the support running on the inside is there again. This time, it’s out-half Colin Slade and he crosses underneath the posts before converting his own try. New Zealand 38-0 Japan

HALF TIME: New Zealand 38-0 Japan

I need a minute or two to catch my breath and rest my fingers. Anybody care to make a prediction of the final score? Can the All Blacks keep up this pace in the second half?

In Hamilton, they’re standing on the rooftops shouting out “Baby, I’m ready to go.”

Nigel Owens gets our second period underway.

For what it’s worth, I’m not sure New Zealand are going to be quite able to keep scoring at the same rate. I’m going to go for 62-6 as the final score.

Secretly, I hope they run in another seven or eight tries. Not that I want to see Japan hammered, purely because the All Blacks are so exhilarating to watch.

How about this for a change for the All Blacks? Sonny Bill Williams comes on to replace a rather unhappy looking Cory Jane on the wing. Andrew Hore is on for Mealamu.

TRY! (Kahui, 44′) New Zealand are playing very well, but their utter dominance is certainly being helped by the fact that Japan have forgotten how to tackle. I think the winger Onozawa was the guilty party on this occasion, but it’s academic at this stage as Kahui waltzes across for his second of the evening. Slade sticks another two on the board. New Zealand 45-0 Japan

TRY! (Williams, 49′) I do really feel sorry for Japan, but these moments of All Black brilliance are eye-wateringly good. The forwards want a try for themselves and hammer away at the line, but Ellis decides to change it up and fires it wide to Colin Slade. His reverse pop to Sonny Bill fools absolutely everyone, including me, and the winger cruises across the line without any red shirt laying so much as a finger on him. Slade tacks on the extras. New Zealand 52-0 Japan

TRY! (Toeava, 54′) The All Blacks simply do not know how to let the ball go dead or play breakdown. Kahui’s offload out wide is excellent, Vito picks the ball up off his bootlaces and Toeava crosses unopposed underneath the posts. Slade adds two more. Exhibition stuff here by NZ. New Zealand 59-0 Japan

TRY! (Onozawa, 57′) YESSSSSS! If you’re struggling to work out what part of NZ a guy called Onozawa comes from, worry not — Japan are on the mark, much to the delight of everyone in the stadium and in offices. It’s a soft try to concede from the All Blacks’ perspective — the winger simply stepped into the line to intercept Slade’s wayward pass and race clear to the corner.

That’s followed by a brilliant conversion by Murray Williams, who floats it over from the touchline. Brilliant stuff by the Japanese, and a just reward for their endeavour. New Zealand 59-7 Japan

TRY! (Hore, 60′) The All Blacks’ response is as brutal as it is effective. Nonu is unbelievably unselfish after Ellis set him free. The big centre definitely has the power and the pace to drive over himself but chooses to play replacement hooker Hore in instead. He only has to carry a couple of yards, but he looks delighted with himself and rightly so. Colin Slade must be sick of conversions at this stage — he’s missed another one. New Zealand 64- 7 Japan

TRY! (Nonu, 61′) And, less than 60 seconds later, Nonu gets the reward for his unselfishness as he runs in try number 11 for the All Blacks. This one is all about Sonny Bill Williams though. The magician dances around two tackles, weaving his way toward the line before playing in his buddy in the corner.

If I was Colin Slade, I’d start insisting that the team put the ball down in more central areas. He misses another tricky conversions, making him 7 from 11 for the morning. New Zealand 69-7 Japan

Boos ring out around the stadium as Onozawa touches down underneath the posts. The boos aren’t for him however, they’re for referee Nigel Owens who had (correctly) whistled for a forward pass earlier in the move.

Eight minutes on the clock in Hamilton. What a game this has been.

TRY! (Thomson, 76′) Why? Why the hell not? Excellent work at the lineout by Whitelock allows Jimmy Cowan to make a break for the line. He waves the ball tantalisingly in front of his tackler before combining with Ali Williams to play openside Adam Thomson in under the posts. Two more added on by Slade. New Zealand 76-7 Japan

TRY! (Williams, 78′) Try number 13 might just be my favourite of the bunch, if only because it shows how desperate every All Black player is to make an impact on the game. Kahui is flying down the wing, looks inside, sees Sonny Bill haring through the centre unmarked. He plays a perfectly-weighted chip into the winger’s path and he dives to touch it down. Slade says thank you very much as he converts the try. New Zealand 83-7 Japan

FULL TIME: New Zealand 83-7 Japan

Brilliant and brutal in equal measure, there can’t be too many rugby fans out there who didn’t enjoy that one. The All Blacks players look completely shattered which is a testament to their workrate — they probably had the game comfortably won inside 20 minutes.

Japan are winning more and more fans as the tournament progresses though. They are plucky beyond belief and never seem to give up, no matter how one-sided the scoreline. They’ll learn a lot from today’s experience and hopefully it’ll stand them in good stead as they go on to their two huge games against Tonga and Canada. I’d love to see them win one of those two and genuinely think that they deserve to.

That’s our lot for the moment. We’ll have lots more news, analysis and reaction on site today so stay put.

Our next live coverage kicks off at 4.30 tomorrow morning when Paul will be burning the midnight oil to take you through Argentina versus Romania. Hope to see you then.

About the author:

Niall Kelly