Under 20s crush Junior Japan

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Campbell Burnes     30 Apr 2019     Getty Images

The result follows up New Zealand’s opening 53-7 victory over Fiji last Friday and was highlighted by a hat-trick to openside flanker Kohan Herbert, a double to powerful centre Lalomilo Lalomilo and 27 points from first five Rivez Reihana.


Head coach Craig Philpott rang 13 changes to his starting line-up and it took a few minutes to click, while Japan fired from the get-go and put heat on in the scrums, winning a penalty try in the opening quarter and scoring an opportunist try via fullback Ryosuke Kawase.

Captain Kaylum Boshier opened New Zealand’s account from a Fletcher Newell offload, Boshier’s second touch in that phase. That was a feature of the play throughout the game, New Zealand’s support play and high quality handling too strong for the underdog.
Seven tries were run in during the first stanza. Left wing Scott Gregory, who was subbed at the half, got in on the act, crossing in the corner off some nice lead-up work by Herbert and prop George Dyer.

The best try went to second five Dallas McLeod, who regathered from a chip to score in a 50m movement. His combination with Lalomilo was irrepressible.

Halfback Taufa Funaki troubled the Japanese defence with his chipping over the top of the ruck. Fullback Cole Forbes profited from one such chip to score himself.

Forbes, Lalomilo and Reihana were all prominent in the second spell. Reihana, who slotted 11 from 13 off the tee, including his last 10 attempts, showed good strength to rip the ball and score a try himself.
The scrums were reduced to Golden Oldies engagements for the last few minutes, but it mattered not as New Zealand was well on top in the forwards. Herbert’s hat-trick try put the exclamation point on this fine display. The coaches will also be happy that there appeared to be no serious injuries.

New Zealand faces host Australia at 9pm (NZT) on Saturday, the match being broadcast on the Oceania Rugby Facebook page and also at Victory would give New Zealand four successive Oceania titles.

New Zealand Under 20s 87 (Kohan Herbert 3, Lalomilo Lalomilo 2, Kaylum Boshier, Taufa Funaki, Scott Gregory, Dallas McLeod, Chay Fihaki, Cole Forbes, Rivez Reihana, Tamaiti Williams tries; Reihana 11 con) Junior Japan 12 (Ryosuke Kawase try; penalty try) Halftime: 45-12 New Zealand