Second-string All Blacks crush Japan


A second string All Blacks side featuring eight debutants crushed Japan 69-31 in a thriller of a try-fest in Tokyo on Saturday with centre Ngani Laumape running in a hat-trick for the world champions.

The All Blacks taught next year's World Cup hosts a tough lesson in front a record crowd for a rugby match in Japan of 43,751 at the Ajinomoto Stadium.

Hooker Dane Coles scored New Zealand's first try on his return to the side after nearly a year out with injury, while debutant wing George Bridge scored a brace, including one with his first touch as an All Black, after coming on at halftime.

Ireland are in Japan's pool for next year's World Cup.

"There was a fair amount of risk going into this game but we felt that the rewards were going to be a lot bigger than the risk if we got things right", New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen said.

"We have learnt a lot about people this week".

But the All Blacks replied with four tries in 12 minutes through Naholo, Matt Proctor, Laumape for this third of the game and a rampaging Bridge, who will have given New Zealand selectors a headache with his impressive cameo.

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Mo'unga dummied his way through the defense in the 20th minute and Laumape scored his first try from a defensive lapse in the 28th minute, putting New Zealand ahead 24-7.

Dane Coles, Mo'unga, Laumape (2) and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi all helped themselves to tries before the interval to put New Zealand in command, but Japan continued to pose a threat and both Hendrik Tui and Tim Lafaele touched down to make it 19-38 at the break.

The influence of Japan's assistant coach, former Otago Highlanders boss Tony Brown, was evident in much of the attacking play from the home side.

This was no more apparent than when Jamie Henry, who was making his test debut for Japan, ran onto flyhalf Yu Tamura's kick through to score in the corner to reduce the All Blacks lead to 21 points with just under half an hour remaining.

Japan were humbled 54-6 to New Zealand in 2013, but Joseph insists today's five tries show signs of improvement against the "best team in the world".

Lafaele stopped the bleeding for Japan by crashing over for his second try of the game, converted by Tamura, as the home side had the final word of a pulsating contest.