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All Blacks thrash Japan

A brilliant opening half-hour set up New Zealand for a comprehensive eight-try 54-6 triumph over Japan in Tokyo on Saturday.

Charles Piutau scored the opening and closing tries for the All Blacks, with Sam Cane, Ben Smith, Richie McCaw also crossing in the first half and Jeremy Thrush, Frank Halai, Beauden Barrett adding further scores in the second.

Dan Carter kicked five conversions and Barrett two, with Japan's only reward for a gutsy display at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium coming in the form of two first-half Ayumu Goromaru penalties.

Piutau gave the world champions the perfect start to their end-of-year tour when he collected a loose ball in the 10th minute, following a drop by Japan full-back Goromaru, and scored a try.

While Japan got on the scoreboard with two penalties from Goromaru, tries from Cane and Smith in the 27th and 30th minutes respectively saw the All Blacks assume control of the contest.

New Zealand captain McCaw took the ball off the back of the scrum and barged over soon after, before Carter slotted the conversion, and suddenly the tourists led 28-6.

The visitors maintained that advantage until half-time and then kept Japan scoreless in the second half as Thrush, Halai, Barrett and Piutau all crossed for New Zealand to complete the 48-point rout.

The victory continued New Zealand's flawless record against Japan, with the All Blacks claiming their fifth win in as many meetings with the Asian nation.

Carter slotted the first five conversions for the tourists, while Barrett made no mistake with the final two opportunities in a comfortable win for New Zealand ahead of Tests against France, England and Ireland.

Japan pushed hard for a late try and almost crossed with the final play of the game but Kenki Fukuoka was denied in the corner by McCaw and Steven Luatua.


From Belfast Telegraph