Yokohama - Injury-hit Australia crushed Japan 63-30 in Yokohama on
Saturday to kick off their northern hemisphere tour in impressive style.
The Wallabies ran in nine tries in a lopsided encounter as
they followed up wins against world champions New Zealand and the Barbarians
with a clinical display against the 2019 World Cup hosts.
Tevita Kuridrani muscled over for a hat-trick of tries and
Samu Kerevi added two more, with utility back Reece Hodge a perfect nine from
nine with the boot in his first test at flyhalf.
"We were really happy with probably about 60 minutes of
our game," said Australia captain Michael Hooper.
"Japan's players fought hard and were really strong in
the breakdown," he added.
"They turned us over too many times and put 30 points
on us - we've got to be better than that."
Kerevi's second provided the game's highlight, the
bulldozing centre collecting a no-look pass from Kurtley Beale to cap a
stunning move started by Henry Speight deep in Australia's own half.
Japan lost 47-27 to a world select side last week in a
butter-fingered display but ill-discipline cost the Brave Blossoms against the
Australians, who scored further tries through Speight, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Nick
Phipps and Rob Simmons.
The Asian champions were left stunned when Speight burst
clear to score Australia's second try after just 11 minutes as the floodgates
threatened to burst open.
Trailing 35-3 at halftime, Japan improved after the break
with locks Wimpie van der Walt and Amanaki Mafi grabbing tries before Kazuki
Himeno bundled over after the final buzzer to help Japan hit the 30-point mark,
to the joy of 43 000 in Yokohama.
Japan captain Michael Leitch pulled no punches in summing up
"We were up against one of the top four teams in the
world and we felt the difference between our level and theirs," he said.
"Discipline in that first 20 minutes hurt us and we
have to improve in a lot of areas before the World Cup."
Hodge was calmness personified with regular flyhalf Bernard
Foley out through illness, while second-choice scrumhalf Phipps looked solid in
place of the injured Will Genia.
Japan, who were destroyed 91-3 by Australia the last time
they met at the 2007 World Cup, have struggled since winning three games at the
2015 tournament under Eddie Jones.
Tries: Van der Walt, Mafi, Himeno
Conversations: Matsuda, Tamura 2
Penalties: Matsuda 3
Tries: Kerevi 2, Speight, Polota-Nau, Kuridrani 3, Phipps, Simmons
Conversations: Hodge 9
15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lava Lemeki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Ryuji Noguchi, 10 Rikiya Matsuda, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Kazuki Himeno, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki
Substitutes: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Fetuani Lautaimi, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Sione Teaupa
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Nic Phipps, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Joe Powell, 23 Curtis Rona