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Main » Japan 31 - 69 New Zealand | 03 Nov 2018

Japan 31 - 69 New Zealand | 03 Nov 2018

06 November 2018

The All Blacks, with eight debutants in their match day 23, exploited Japan's lack of pace in the midfield and some weak tackling to justify coach Steve Hansen's decision to omit his senior players. He shrugged it off and five minutes later when he had another kick from nearly the same position, he was as bold as he was the first time but that fraction more accurate to ensure it went out.

"I am obviously disappointed with the loss but not disappointed with the intent", said Japan coach Jamie Joseph.

But one hiccup aside when a Jordie Barrett clearance was charged down in the opening minutes to allow Japan a simple seven points and bring the crowd into proceedings, the All Blacks were composed, aware and slick enough to score on the back of most of the half chances they created.

However, the All Blacks demonstrated their class in attack, scoring 10 tries to Japan's five in a performance that was largely dominant against the plucky Brave Blossoms, who may have some tricks up their sleeve when facing England at Twickenham in two weeks time. "But we still have a long way to get to the level where we can beat a Tier One nation".

Dane Coles marked his return to test-match rugby with a try following good breaks from Nahe Milner-Skudder and Jackson Hemopo before Mo'unga made the most of some good pressure from his forwards to stroll over.

Former Chiefs No 8 Michael Leitch was typically strong in leading Japan around the park and Brown was still positive about the promising signs ahead of hosting the World Cup next year.

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"Clearly when you make mistakes against a team like the All Blacks they make you pay for it", rued Joseph.

Tries to Naholo, Proctor, Laumape and Bridge put the result beyond doubt but didn't quench the spirit of Japan who scored again through Lafaele to have the honour of scoring the first and last tries of the match.

Call them a weakened team, a second team even but don't call them undeserving of the jersey for the All Blacks were nothing but persistently excellent. Other tries for New Zealand went to scrumhalf Te Toiroa Tehuriorangi, winger Waisake Naholo and Mo'unga as a team containing eight new caps stretched New Zealand's unbeaten run against Japan to seven tests.

Japan amassed their highest points' tally against the All Blacks. But it was nothing more than a consolation effort. "But we felt the rewards were bigger than the risk if we got things right".

Joseph, meanwhile, conceded his players had not helped themselves by kicking the ball away too much. He was brilliant in the second half.

"We'd like to do this more and more and get a few more people to the game and encourage rugby in the USA because I think once they figure out rugby's a great game, they're going to be a powerful weapon".

Japan 31 - 69 New Zealand | 03 Nov 2018