THE PHILIPPINES got a rude welcome in the HSBC Asian Five Nations Top 5 last Saturday when it absorbed a 0-121 defeat to powerhouse Japan in Fukuoka.
The Japanese’s speed and power overwhelmed the Volcanoes, who were making their debut in Asia’s most prestigious rugby tournament that also serves as a qualifier for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The Volcanoes, who have actually come a long way from playing in the lower-tier in Asia five years ago to the biggest stage in the continent, proved helpless as the Japanese scored on a whopping 18 tries.
Japan’s overpowering form led to the biggest win in the history of the tournament and fourth highest in a World Cup qualifier.
“Japan is the benchmark in Asian rugby and showed us what it takes to be at that level,” said Volcanoes coach Jarred Hodges. “They (the Japenese) were too big, too strong and too fast.”
Volcanoes flyhalf Gareth Holgate missed a couple of simple shots at goal early on before Japan picked up its rhythm en route to the blowout.
“We worked very hard for the first 30 minutes,” said Hodges. “But we missed a couple of kicks that could have made it 10-6. After that, though, the Japanese played to their strengths. They were a class above.”
In the day’s second match, Hong Kong posted a 53-7 win over the United Arab Emirates at the Hong Kong Football Club. Cedelf P. Tupas