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Junior All Blacks complete clean sweep

Sportal.co.nz     25 Jun 2006    

The Junior All Blacks' record was: beat Fiji 35-17, beat Samoa 56-12, beat Tonga 38-10,

The Junior All Blacks played Japan at Carisbrook on Saturday in a match which belied the final scoreline.

It was Japanese rugby as usual, full of early intensity with plenty of action completed at breakneck speed. But for all the effort, and speed, the durability has still not developed to the point where the smaller Japanese players can outlast a bigger side.

The New Zealanders were not helped by their lack of familiarity with one another as the result of nine changes to the side and they took time to settle into the required teamwork to overcome a fine early start by the visitors.

Halfback Wataru Ikeda kicked a penalty goal to give Japan the lead, however, after 20 minutes wing Anthony Tuitavake finally got across the line for New Zealand for the first of his three tries.

Before the halftime break, Tuitavake crossed again as did fellow wing Caleb Ralph.

The Junior All Blacks led 19-3 at halftime.

Ralph scored a second when beating poor tackles just after the resumption before Tuitavake completed a hat-trick 12 minutes into the half.

Second five-eighths Cameron MacIntyre grabbed the last try with 20 minutes left.

Japan had reward for its persistence when fullback Takashi Miyake scored a late try.

In the other game played on Saturday in Suva, Fiji beat Samoa 23-20.

Japan has one more game to play in the competition, a home match against Fiji in Osaka next weekend while Tonga will play Samoa in Gosford.

Scorers: Junior All Blacks 38 (Anthony Tuitavake 3, Caleb Ralph 2, Cameron MacIntyre; MacIntyre 4 con) Japan 8 (Takashi Miyake try; Wataru Ikeda pen).

HT: 19-3