This is what All Blacks have been waiting for – a good hard thumping of small (Rugby) nation. Japan haven’t won a World Cup match since 1991 and were out of this game three minutes in, after Conrad Smith opened the scoring. It ended with a 83-7 win, with Richard Kahui and Sonny Bill Williams, to the pleasure of the ladies, both scoring two tries.
As expected, there wasn’t too much too learn from New Zealand’s win, which was never in any jeopardy or doubt. However, the All-Blacks never relaxed, and kept hammering away at the helpless Japanese side, that actually came in this match with some hopes of continuing to impress after making life very hard for France in their tournament opener.
The All-Blacks piled on the changes due to injuries and what not, including Richie McCaw, Mils Muliaina, Israel Dagg and Dan Carter, all out of the lineup. Colin Slade played at Fly Half and piled up the points, scoring a try and nine conversions. Japan had two reasons to be encouraged – They did score a try, something that always puts a smile on your face while being demolished. Second, it was much worse in 1995, the previous World Cup meeting between the two. It ended 145-17 last time.
It always shocks me as to how a team can actually put 145 points on the board, but the All-Blacks proved once again how deep their ranks are and how when given open space and freedom to roam, the just shred you to pieces. Next week (September 24) against France will be a completely different story. While the French had a hard time in their opener against Japan, we’ll know much more about their chance of making life hard for the All-Blacks tomorrow against a surprising Canada side.
After all, France do know how beat the All-Blacks. Doing it in New Zealand will probably be much more enjoyable, and painful for the other side. Right now, I can’t see them upsetting the favorites.