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    Brave Blossoms whip Volcanoes in A5N debut

    Apr 21, 2013
    Volcanoes team captain Michael Letts in action in this file foto. Jerome Ascano

    JAPAN gave the Philippines a rude welcome in its HSBC Asian Five Nations (HSBC A5N) debut following a 121-0 rout on Saturday at the Hong Kong Football Club.

    The five-time champions Brave Blossoms ran in 18 tries against the Volcanoes to get their 2013 campaign off to a hot start.

    It was the 21st straight bonus-point victory for Japan in the meet that serves as qualifier for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

    The winning score was the highest in the history of the tournament, the third highest score registered by Japan, and the fourth highest in a World Cup qualifier

    Thirteen different players touched down for the Brave Blossoms - including four rookies - as Japan's power and speed proved too much for the Volcanoes, who are seeing action in the A5N for the first time.

    The Brave Blossoms ran in six tries in the first half to lead 43-0 at the break before doubling their effort in the second half.

    “It was a good performance first up,” said Japan coach Eddie Jones. “But it's always difficult to tell given the quality of the opposition. We have been working on getting physically stronger and you saw a little of that today.”

    Jarred Hodges, the coach of the Volcanoes, has nothing but praise and respect for the Brave Blossoms.

    “Japan is the benchmark in Asian rugby and showed us what it takes to be at that level,” said Hodges. “They were too big, too strong, and too fast.”

    Hong Kong posted a 53-7 win over United Arab Emirates in the day’s other game.

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    Volcanoes team captain Michael Letts in action in this file foto. Jerome Ascano
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