Japan See Off Hard-Working Hong Kong

Japan moved within one point of claiming the 2017 Asia Rugby Championship as they beat Hong Kong 29-17 on Saturday.

Played in front of 8,238 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, the Brave Blossoms scored five tries to make it three bonus-point wins from three games going into their final game next week against the same opponents in Hong Kong.

Akihito Yamada bagged a brace and there were five-pointers for Shuhei Matsuhashi, Shota Horie and Harumichi Tatekawa with Rikiya Matsuda adding two conversions.

Matsuhashi’s try came in the second minute following a clever kick from debutant Kanta Shikao.

Hong Kong, who were playing with a strong wind at their backs, responded, however, with Jamie Hood kicking a penalty.

They then took the lead in the 25th minute when Yiu Kam Shing made the most of a good inside pass from Matt Rosslee to go over between the posts.

With both forwards not giving an inch, there was no further score until the 39th minute when Yamada went over in the corner after Japan had finally been able to put some phases together.

The start of the second half was equally tight and the first score did not come until the 56th minute when Tyler Spitz touched down for the visitors.

That seemed to fire up the hosts and Yamada crossed following a good turnover and quick pass from Matsuda.

Horie’s try resulted from the Brave Blossoms being able to produce quick ruck ball while Tatekawa finished things off as Japan ran Hong Kong from side to side to create an overlap.

The two teams meet again next week at Hong Kong Football Club.

Japan then take on Romania on June 10 and Ireland on June 17 and 24.