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Māori All Blacks too strong for Japan XV

Updated: Jun 30

The Māori All Blacks started a little slow but eventually won over the Japan XV in Tokyo
The Māori All Blacks have eased past the Japan XV in Tokyo scoring five tries to two PHOTO: NZ RUGBY

The Māori All Blacks have proved too good for the Japan XV in the heat at Tokyo’s historic Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium winning 36-10.

Prop Joe Moody was a late withdrawal, replaced by Ollie Norris for the Maori side as the home scrum proved tough and saw hooker Mamoru Harada cross after five minutes.

There were key turnovers by halfback Sam Nock and locks Laghlan McWhannell and Isaia Walker-Leawere when the Māori were under siege inside the 22.


In the ninth minute Nock recovered a ball that bounced awkwardly on the half-volley sending it to the right wing of Josh Moorby who sprinted clear but was bought down ive meters out for Blues lock Suafoa to crash over.

The Māori eventually settled into a pattern of patience and directness not dissimilar to Super Rugby Pacific winners the Blues.

However they did suffer from handling mistakes and were by no means a cohesive unit.

In the 18th minute winger Baylin Sullivan ran down opposite Viliame Tuidraki in a tackle that forced Tuidraki to drop the ball while over the try line.

The Māori had discipline issues with blindside flanker Cameron Suafoa and reserve second five Rameka Poihipi yellow carded. Poihipi had earlier replaced Daniel Rona who hobbled off after 25 minutes.

In the 32nd minute, after eight phases of grunt, hooker Kurt Eklund crashed over. Eight minutes later loosehead prop Shogo Muira was penalised at a scrum. Grace caught the five-meter lineout which saw a Japan contingent submarine left opening a hole for skipper Billy Harmon to cross.

The Japan XV made a horror beginning to the second half. An up-and-under kick was collected in an offside position. From the penalty, the Māori reemployed the lineout drive and Sullivan reaped the fruits of being unmarked.

Tana Tuhakaraina set up another try with 40m run before passing to Toiroa Tahuriorangi who supplied Poihipi with a finish.

First-five Rivez Reihana grew in stature throughout and a dummy, go and fend in the 69th minute trigged another long breakout with Poihipi scoring.. 

The Japan XV had eight players yet to be capped as full internationals, while 12 of those already capped have featured in less than 10 test matches each, including five who played their maiden test in last weekend’s 17-52 loss to England.

The Māori All Blacks start the Ross Filipo era with a win against a new and often challenging opponent.

Māori All Blacks: 36 (Cameron Suafoa, Kurt Eklund, Billy Harmon, Bailyn Sullivan, Rameka Poihipi tries; Poihipi 2, Rivez Reihana cons) Japan XV:  10: (Mamoru Harada, Koga Nezuka tries) HT: 17-5


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