Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Japan beat Hong Kong to win the Asian 5N and qualify for the RWC 2011

Japan qualified for the 2011 Rugby World Cup on the weekend after they well and truly thrashed Hong Kong 94-5 to win their third consecutive Asian Five Nations tournament.

They scored 14 tries as they ran riot on their way to the massive win, which sets them up for their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance, in New Zealand next year.

While the game in Japan already has a large following, this win and the qualification for the showpiece of the modern game will provide a further boost to the profile of the sport in the country, and "represents the achievement of a very strategic goal", said the Japan Rugby Football Union chairman.

Coached by legendary All Black wing John Kirwan, Japan are on the up and realising their potential as they bring in new players and fans with their success. "We have achieved our first goal this year which was to qualify for the World Cup," said Kirwan.

"The players have worked very hard and that was our best performance in the competition so far. But there is a long way to go."

They will play in a tough group next year, Pool A, where they will face France, Canada, Tonga, and hosts New Zealand.

"We've got two easy games to start so I am not worried about those," Kirwan joked of the clashes with the All Blacks and France. "Canada and Tonga are at the same level and if we can win these two games we automatically qualify for 2015, so realistically we go out and have a go.

"It's important we keep growing. I want to show the world how much we have improved and I hope we have the courage to play our style of rugby. I have never taken the field to lose a game and won't in New Zealand and I am sure the players feel the same,” he added.

Kirwan has ambitious goals for Japan in that he plans to lead them to the top 10 in world rugby next year, the top eight by 2015, and to win the title when they host it in 2019.

There’s no doubt they know how to score tries. Wing Alisi Tupuialei got a hat-trick before the 45-0 halftime score. Enjoy the highlights.

Japan are ranked 13th in the world currently. Are Kirwan’s goals realistic at this stage?

Time: 03:39



  • They certainly look like a team with a great understanding, that said, the defence was woeful at times.

    My biggest question though - how the hell did HK finish up with 5 points and not 7?!? Their try was pretty much under the posts! Their kicker ought to be ashamed!

    By Anonymous Tony Hart, at May 27, 2010 6:01 pm  

  • Japan on RD! :)

    Good to see a few former NPC/Super 14 players doing well there. Arlidge, the flyhalf, and was that Ryan Nicholas I saw?

    By Anonymous Laz, at May 27, 2010 6:12 pm  

  • It was Nicholas Ryan indeed.
    I think we didn't give up chasing a 4 try bonus so we dropped a goal (if I remember correctly).

    By Blogger vinniechan, at May 27, 2010 6:17 pm  

  • Japans the only real team in the Asian 5 nations. I lived in Korea for some time, and until they get serious about there rugby they will be at the bottom of that pile forever. That said Japan are looking good.

    By Blogger Hendrick, at May 27, 2010 6:23 pm  

  • Japans the only real team in the Asian 5 nations. I lived in Korea for some time, and until they get serious about there rugby they will be at the bottom of that pile forever. That said Japan are looking good.

    By Blogger Hendrick, at May 27, 2010 6:23 pm  

  • Some very good play, and all credit to Japan, but there isnt exactly much tackling going on, is there?

    By Anonymous ScrumGuru, at May 27, 2010 6:45 pm  

  • Top 10 might be an achieveable goal, but they'd want to get regular matches against quality opposition if they want to improve on the world stage.

    By Blogger Box, at May 27, 2010 7:33 pm  

  • top 10 is definitely achievable,but top 8 is something else.cant see them beating the likes of ireland,england, france, wales,new zealand,australia, argentina or SA for some time,and as for winning the WC 2019,i think that was a joke

    By Anonymous Ireland for WC 2011, at May 27, 2010 8:08 pm  

  • japan looked good, within 10 years they could potentially repeat Argentina's feat at the last WC, backed by home support, tho it surely is out of reach to win the thing! If Argentina's invite into the tri-nations proves a success what are the chances of making it a 5 way with Japan from 2020?

    By Anonymous Andrew, at May 27, 2010 9:39 pm  

  • I wish the best to Japan, but please do not compare them with Argentina. The Pumas always had the essential: great forwards and a scrum. Here you see only cool running players, no real tackle.

    No offense meant.

    By Blogger Yannoche, at May 27, 2010 10:43 pm  

  • Wow Kazakhstan have a rugby team. How about some Kazak highlights?

    By Anonymous Borat, at May 27, 2010 11:52 pm  

  • What happened to the Pacific Rim Championship? Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Canada, and the USA (all of whom were in the Pacific Rim Championship with Japan) would be much more challenging opposition for this Japanese team... Put that championship back in place and every one of the top 15 international teams will be in a yearly competition against other top 15 teams.

    By Anonymous Donovan, at May 28, 2010 12:39 am  

  • 'Alisi Tupuialei' is a strong Japanese name..... 8-)

    I think japan is a sort of 'Italy' sure they can put in lots of good efforts here and there but i think winning big games isnt going to happen.... (yet)

    By Anonymous (u-p)rick, at May 28, 2010 1:41 am  

  • Its funny how Japan thrash Hong Kong 94-5 but when Japan plays the big boys then dey become tha bitches aye?

    By Anonymous AB FAN, at May 28, 2010 1:46 am  

  • good to see plenty of japanese born players in there, that winger Alisi Tupuialei? 4th generation japanese? thats the only reason japan get up against those teams because they get good foreign players.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 28, 2010 2:56 am  

  • Japan is improving, they seem to be better than other teams at their level, like Russia and Canada (they kicked the crap out of Canada on the Canadian's two test tour at the end of last year, it was two convincing wins for japan).
    A big part of the reason is that they are poaching alot of uncapped guys from other rugby nations (particularly NZ and Australia - they have raided Aus rugby league a couple of times too).
    They have got quite a few islanders now running around for them who have added alot of size and strength to their team.

    By Anonymous Jim, at May 28, 2010 4:18 am  

  • The only way rising nations can be competetive for now is with lax regulations.

    I don't mind if Japan has a few non-born Japanese, personally.

    England had Hape and Flutey in the last 6 nations. Hardly English.

    Aslong as emerging teams aren't decked head to toe with ex-pats i think its good for the game

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 28, 2010 5:46 am  

  • Japan can house the A5N because they're far and away the only real team there. No one else there has the support, financial resources, and leadership Japan has.

    That said, The A5N is a long way from regular international competition. Japan know what they're doing best of all in this competition and keep opposing socres low simply because they're playing sub-par teams who are not as well organized or trained as the Japanese are. Defense and scrummaging are very, very weak in the A5N, which allows Japan to run up enormous scorlines in their favor. However, forward play and defense are what many Teir 1 nations base their gameplans on. Japan may be able to run all around against nations like Khazakstan and Korea, but to expect them to do such against South Africa or New Zealand, Ireland or France would be ludicrous.

    What Japan needs, what all developing rugby nations need, is a regular international competition against the best opposition available. I personally feel that the Asian 5 Nations does not have the level of competition that will allow Japan to become truly competitive on a world scale. You'll only learn a little by swinging at punching bags. It's by getting stuck in and taking your lumps that you will truly learn.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 28, 2010 6:15 am  

  • Everone is saying Japan need to play better teams, but if you look at Italy who are 10 times better then japan and can hardly get a win in the Six nations apart from when they play scotland(who are improving big time) then how are Japan every going to be able to win any games. Unless there scrum and Line out become 1000 times better they will get killed by the top 8 teams in the world for the next 10-15 years before they even get close to winning a game. They just dont have a chance unless the teams around them bet ALOT better

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 28, 2010 10:18 am  

  • Judging from last world cup, Japan will do well next year. They kept up with the top teams for the first half of all their matches but the professionalism of the top teams shines through in the second half. I remember they got an awesome try vs Wales in the group stages.

    With John Kirwan guiding them, I'm sure they will continue to improve with or without the influx of foreign nationals.

    By Blogger Clinomaniac, at May 28, 2010 10:38 am  

  • some nice tries there even if the defence was not the best
    it's also good to see a packed stadium for this final, it reflects there growing interest in rugby in japan (they had junior world cup 1or23 years ago) so its looking good for the RWC 2019

    By Anonymous Luxi, at May 28, 2010 11:11 am  

  • hmm interesting comments from Kirwan didnt know he was their coach! Winning RWC perhaps too ambitious as is Top8.

    However Top10 is perhaps achievable they need to play better opposition on a regular basis. a good long term aim would be to join the 4-Nations but that is realistically a long way off.

    Poaching uncapped players is something all the big nations do - can think of examples for all the teams in 6nations and SANZAR. If it adds to their team and helps them become more competitive then i dont really see the problem. Its great to see the stadium packed out - the game is getting bigger and bigger over there lots of premiership and S14 players seem to be heading over (altho for money probs) so the experience they bring will hopefully improve the quality of rugby there!

    Cmon JAPAN! :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 28, 2010 3:47 pm  

  • With Japan's big win, credit should be given to Hong Kong seeing as they are an extremely small part of Asia- in fact they aren't really even considered a country. (Special Administrative Region)
    They deserve the recognition of even being in the finals for the A5N's & also beating Wales in the Hong Kong Sevens this year! Nonetheless, HK has some massive growing up to do, but their future looks brighter every year!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 28, 2010 5:56 pm  

  • if its viable put japan into the pacific nations cap. tonga, samoa fiji and japan can make for an interesting round robin of competition and i think that with their top players present any nation could win it. if they want to expand the game it would present some logistical issues, but the next step would be to add US and canada rather than do something like add australia A or jr. all backs or the maoris.

    By Anonymous miguel, at May 28, 2010 6:07 pm  

  • Well, congratulations to japan, they have won the a5n and done something my country (portugal) could not do this time, to qualify for the World Cup.

    That said, let us PLEASE be realistic. Aside from Japan, the teams in a5n are the same level teams the likes of Israel and Lithuania. "Oh my god, a rugby ball isnt round, but oval? WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!"
    Japan seem reasonably organized and full of money and keep bringing in foreigners to their national competition, but hey, this highlights deeply resembled a sevens tournament. No actual tackles made (and that includes japan), and no big guys present (again, japan's number seven, or number four hardly had any size).
    No way japan could play like that against russia, tonga, romania, portugal... all those teams supposedly in their range and well behind them in the ranking.

    The fact is they're ranked quite unrealisticly. No way they are the world's 13th best team. Even the only amateur team to enter a WC managed to loose by less than them against the ABs (they can boast the larges loosing margin EVER, japan). When you have no opposition, of course you win every time, and you get points in the ranking.

    Not trying to diminuish their effort or improvement, but let's be honest.

    They seem to lack forwards, set piece play, defense, and an all-round team-play needed for a 15 aside game. No way they can beat a seasoned, bulky and organized Russia. To say they can beat Fiji is ludicrous. All these sides have players in the main european competitions. Hell, even portugal has a swarm of players in the top14, and can boast having players that played for teams like Stade Tolousain and even Munster.

    I am all forward expanding the world of rugby and giving asian nations a chance to compete, but to be fair, I doubt japan would qualify if they were in another competition, even the European Nations cup (6 nations B).

    But I would love to see my Portugal against Japan, to test my countries' game out wide.

    Hope you dont see me as a prick. Im not trying to insult anyone, and I'm conscious my country is humble in the world of rubgy, albeit a few victories and moments of pride. Just trying to see things as they really are.


    By Blogger Xavier, at May 29, 2010 5:26 am  

  • winning the world cup will be hard but they have talent. japan are the best team on rugby 08 they have loads of speedsters

    By Anonymous rosh, at May 29, 2010 8:26 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 30, 2010 8:02 am  

  • ahhh HK's 2nd. We're just an island you know... cannot be compared with Japan. So well done hk

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 30, 2010 2:58 pm  

  • Xavier, you are ill-informed mate.
    Firstly Japan already plays in the Pacific Nations Cup, and they beat Tonga a year or two ago, and regularly compete well with the likes of Fiji and Samoa.
    They beat the crap out of the Canadians in November last year, two very convincing wins against a side that is of the same standard as Portugal and Russia.
    They are playing Russia this year in a two test series, and I'd be putting my money on Japan to beat the Russians, liek they thrashed the Canadians.
    What you don't realise is that they have a fully proffesional domestic comp, with some very good players and coaches in it (alot of ex-All Blacks and Wallabies and coaches like Eddie Jones).
    The other thing is their national team contains some very good imports, from the S14 and the NRL who have been naturalised and either do or by the World Cup will play for them as Japanese nationals.
    The guys they're importing are guys who went thru the development programs of Australian, New Zeland or South African rugby union and league, and these guys can play.

    By Anonymous Tom, at May 31, 2010 1:13 am  

  • Xavier, Japan has better players (just the imports) than Portugal.
    They have guys who played at the top club level of Southern hemisphere rugby union and league.
    I would expect them to beat Portugal.

    By Anonymous Jim, at May 31, 2010 7:07 am  

  • Are there any Japanese on the Japanese Rugby Team?

    By Blogger Project_Tyranny, at May 31, 2010 11:57 pm  

  • Yeah, the majority of the team are still home grown, they have something like 150,000 registered players above 18 and they produce good backs in particular.

    By Anonymous Tom, at June 01, 2010 12:34 am  

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