Asia Rugby Championship

Asia Rugby Championship 2016

Japan’s ‘moustache rebel’ Yamanaka orchestrates 13-try romp over South Korea

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 April, 2016, 4:24pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 May, 2016, 3:37pm

Rampant Japan pulverised South Korea 85-0 in their Asian Rugby Championship opener on Saturday, giving the national set-up a boost after stuttering progress since last year's World Cup heroics.

Dubbed "Baby Japan" with 17 uncapped players drafted in and not one member of their World Cup squad available due to club commitments overseas, the new-look Japanese side romped to a record victory over the Koreans with embarrassing ease.

All the players were quick out of the blocks and we managed to impose our style of rugby on the game
Ryuji Nakatake, interim Japan coach

Fly-half Ryohei Yamanaka, who was dropped for the 2011 World Cup and banned for two years for failing a drugs test after taking a hair product to help grow a moustache, orchestrated the whitewash with a bristling display in Yokohama.

He finished with 19 points for the Brave Blossoms while winger Kentaro Kodama marked his debut with five of the home side's 13 tries in a one-sided game which offered Japan few real pointers as they build for the 2019 World Cup on home soil.

The result will only have papered over the cracks for Japan, whose momentum has stalled since famously winning three matches at the World Cup because of delays in bringing in a successor to Eddie Jones.

Japan produced the biggest shock in the tournament's history under the Australian by stunning two-time world champions South Africa 34-32 before going on to topple Samoa and the United States. Their only loss came against Scotland.

Japan are currently being led by interim coach Ryuji Nakatake as the Asian champions look to rule by committee before former All Black Jamie Joseph takes over in August.


WATCH: Rampant Japan run in 13 tries in 2016 ARC opener against South Korea:


Before that Tokyo Sunwolves coach Mark Hammett will take the helm for three Tests in June, including a pair of home Tests against Scotland -- an arrangement Jones, now in charge of England, has slammed as "crazy".

"We have a young team so we tried to keep the ball moving rather than get drawn into a physical battle," Nakatake told reporters after watching his players rack up a record margin of victory over their Asian rivals.

"All the players were quick out of the blocks and we managed to impose our style of rugby on the game."

Japan have now won 32 of 33 matches in the Asian tournament and its forerunner, the Asian Five Nations -- their perfect record tarnished only after their match against Hong Kong last year was declared a draw after it was rained off.

Japan travel to Hong Kong next weekend for their second match which will be played at Hong Kong Football Club. The 2016 ARC runs until June 4.