26 Apr 2009

Japan trounce Kazakhstan 87-10 in Asian opener

12:15 pm on 26 April 2009

Japan began the defence of their Asian Five Nations rugby title by obliterating Kazakhstan 87-10 in the rain.

The "Brave Blossoms" easily won the inaugural Asian tournament in 2008 to give former New Zealand great John Kirwan his first major trophy as Japan coach.

Turning down kickable penalties, Japan had far too much firepower for the visiting Kazakhs, rumbling over for 13 tries in a one-sided match in Osaka.

The New Zealand-born flyhalf Shaun Webb scored 28 points to inspire the rout, including a virtuoso first when he chased down his own kick to touch down in the 16th minute.

The Japanese, comfortably Asia's strongest rugby nation, travel to Hong Kong for their second game next weekend. South Korea and Singapore make up the five-team competition.