Japan claim emotional victory
April 30, 2011
UAE's Renier Els breaks clear of the Kazakhstan defence © Asian Five Nations
Japan began their Asian 5 Nations campaign with a resounding 45-22 away victory over Hong Kong in an emotional match at the Hong Kong Football Stadium.
The crowd observed a moment's silence in memory of the victims of the March's earthquake and tsunami, before the defending champions produced a free-flowing performance, which included seven tries.
Powerful No.8 Ryukoliniasi Holani crossed before fly-half Shaun Webb dummied his way through the defence and centre Hirotoki Onozawa grabbed the third try.
Hong Kong got on the scoreboard through the boot of Keith Robertson, but Ailsi Tupuailai notched two quick tries to extend Japan's dominance. Hong Kong fought hard in the second half and grabbed three tries, including one from Rowan Varty, but Japan crossed twice more with Tupuailai completing his hat-trick to seal the win.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) secured their maiden Asian 5 Nations win by upsetting Kazakhstan 24-10 in Abu Dhabi.
The result followed up last weekend's draw with Sri Lanka, while for Kazakhstan things went from bad to worse. Last time out they saw their discipline slip, with two red cards in their loss to Hong Kong, and were further hampered this time around by prop Vladimir Chernyk's failure to secure a visa.
The UAE, formed from the recently disbanded Arabian Gulf RFU, had the boot of fly-half Jonathon Grady to thank for 14 points, while prop Munib Haddad crashed over for a try to secure a 14-5 lead at the break, winger Sergey Konev having scored for the visitors. A late try to replacement Andrew Millar set the seal on the hosts' victory, with playmaker Daulet Akymbekov's try for Kazakhstan mere consolation.
"It feels fantastic," UAE coach Bruce Birtwistle said. "It is great to get our first win in at home under the UAE banner. I'm extremely proud of the effort of the entire team. Our forwards blazed the way for us tonight, but I thought we were really strong throughout the park."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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