Centre Jason Emery's brace of tries saw the Maori All Blacks rout Japan 61-21 in Kobe on Saturday.
Japan held their own in the opening minutes and dominated possession, but were no match as NZ Maori took control of the match. The visitors pinned Japan back in their own half and once loosehead prop Chris Eves scored, the floodgates opened.
Eves dotted down after scrumhalf Chris Smylie sliced through the Japanese defence at the back of a lineout. They recycled quickly and the prop went over in the right-hand corner. Possession was still heavily stacked in Japan's favour, but they were lateral on attack and caught on the counter.
Before long, the Maori had accumulated a 25-0 lead, with further tries from Highlanders outside centre Jason Emery and flank Sean Polwart. The Brave Blossoms hit back when a strong driving maul resulted in a penalty try and fullback Ayuma Goromaru converted. They looked to have sprung to life and continuously threatened close to the Maori All Blacks tryline, but their finishing ability let them down.
Flyhalf Ihaia West, who scored 26 points in the match, converted Emery's second try and added a penalty, as they took a 35-7 lead at the break.
It was all Maori in the second half as they continued to punish the hosts from deep inside their own half. Scores from West and Nehe Milner-Skudder put the result beyond doubt, before a second penalty try and a touchdown from replacement Amanaki Lelei Mafi added some respectability to Japan's scorecard.
But the visitors weren't done yet. Captain Charlie Ngatai and wing James Lowe ran in two late tries, which West converted to complete the rout.
Japan – Tries: Penalty try (2), Amanaki Lelei Mafi. Conversions: Ayuma Goromaru (3).
Maori – Tries: Chris Eves, Jason Emery (2), Sean Polwart, Ihaia West, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Charlie Ngatai, James Lowe. Conversions: West (6). Penalties: West (3).
Japan – 15 Ayuma Goromaru, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa, 12 Male Sau, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Hayden Hopgood, 7 Michael Leitch, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Shoji Ito, 4 Luke Thompsom, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Subs: 16 Keita Inagaki, 17 Hiroki Yuhara, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 21 Keisuke Uchida, Kosei Ono, 23 Karne Hesketh.
Maori All Blacks – 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Charlie Ngatai (c), 11 James Lowe, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Mike Kainga, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Chris Eves.
Subs: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Nick Barrett, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Dan Pryorm 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images