New Zealand demolished Japan 83-7 in Friday’s World Cup Pool A clash in Hamilton. It wasn’t a repeat of the 145-17 score line back in 1995 but the victory was just as comfortable as the All Blacks touched down eleven times. Japan just couldn’t live with the movement, skill and pace of the All Blacks and if it wasn’t the backs who tore them apart, the New Zealand forwards were also dominating in the scrums.
Having made ten changes from the side that beat Tonga last week, a lot of people, might have thought that a much closer match would occur but it wasn’t to be as the hosts stamped their authority on the game in the opening exchanges. Conrad Smith got Graham Henry’s men on the score board in what was the centre’s 50th game for New Zealand. A quick turnover led to Nonu feeding Toeava in midfield before offloading to Smith to touch down.
The home fans had to wait till the 15th minute for the second try. This time it came from a rolling maul which gave Richard Kahui is 3rd try of the tournament. Without Dan Carter, New Zealand were lacking the ruthlessness with the boot and Colin Slade found the going tough of the kicking tee.
They went onto score another four tries before the break with Jerome Kaino, local boy Kevin Mealumu, Ellis and Colin Slade all crossing the line. The tough task for the All Blacks was to maintain the performance in the second period following last week’s poor showing in the second half against Tonga. There was no signs of lack of concentration in the second 40 minutes as they looked to build on their 38-0 interval lead.
Just minutes into the second period, Richard Kahui scored his second of the evening and fourth of the tournament after good work from Smith, Ellis and Toeava. It wasn’t just the All Blacks though as Japan scored a well-deserved try as Onozowa went over for the minnows just before the hour mark. The extremely talented Sonny Bill Williams came on and scored straight away, his try was soon added to by Toeava, Hore, Nonu, Thomson and then Sonny Bill Williams sealed the win with a try in the last minutes.
New Zealand scored twelve tries in the game and ran out 83-7 winners in Hamilton but as Graham Henry knows there are bigger and tougher tests to come.