Japan made it two bonus points from as many games in the Asia Rugby Championship on Saturday as they beat a spirited Hong Kong 41-0 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo.
Akihito Yamada raced over for two of Japan's seven tries and there were further five pointers for Karne Hesketh, Luke Thompson, Yu Tamura, Ryu Koliniasi Holani and Yoshikazu Fujita with Ayumu Goromaru ending the day with three conversions.
“We got a bit more rust out of us and I'm pretty happy with the intent with which we played,” said Japan coach Eddie Jones. “There were some individual errors that marred the performance but I am pleased with the effort.”
Hong Kong failed to score for the third time in four matches against Japan as they fell to their 13th straight loss to the Brave Blossoms, but their performance on the back of last week's defeat to Korea pleased coach Andy Hall.
“We were looking for a reaction on the back of last week's disappointing performance and there were a number of aspects in which we saw a positive reaction,” he said. “So there is a sense of positivity within the group.”
Hong Kong defended well for long periods of time and their scrum forced Japan to concede a number of penalties.
“We knew it was one of their weapons and we were focused on stopping it,” said Hong Kong captain Nick Hewson.
Japan were held to three tries in the first half as a combination of their handling errors and Hong Kong's defence made it difficult for the hosts to put together a number of phases.
Yamada (pictured) went over for the opening score in the 15th minute after some good work from Karne Hesketh following a quick tap penalty, before Hesketh scored a try of his own 13 minutes later.
Luke Thompson then touched down in the 31st minute as Japan took a 19-0 lead into the break.
Japan began the second half with a try to Tamura just three minutes after the restart, but they failed to make the most of their good start, adding just three more scores in the remaining 37 minutes, despite Hong Kong having two players sent to the sin bin.
Yamada finished off a good counter-attack after Hong Kong had spilled the ball on the halfway line; Holani went over following a scrum against the head in the 64th minute, before Fujita wrapped up the scoring in the 72nd minute.
“The scoreline was disappointing but going forward there was a lot of things we can build on,” said Hewson.
Jones, meanwhile, admitted his side had looked a little tired after last week's brief reconnaisance trip to England ahead of RWC 2015.
"If we improve by one per cent every day from now on we will be at 100 per cent come 19 September."
“That was the hardest week of training we've had,” he said. “And some of the players were, until Thursday, still waking up at 3am.
“I said two weeks ago (after beating Korea) we were at 20 per cent. We are now at 21 per cent. But that's a positive. If we improve by one per cent every day from now on we will be at 100 per cent come 19 September (when Japan open their World Cup campaign against South Africa).”
Japan will host Korea next week at the Level 5 Stadium in Fukuoka (kick-off 14:00, local time).
Asia Rugby Championship matches are being streamlined live on: http://eversport.tv/rugby/asian-rugby-championship.
Photo credit: Kenji Demura, RJP
Asia Rugby Championship 2015
May 2: Japan 41-0 Hong Kong
April 25: Hong Korea 26-33 Korea
April 18: Korea 30-56 Japan
Standings after two rounds
1. Japan 12 pts
2. Korea 6 pts
3. Hong Kong 2pts