Rugby Union: Kunda plays party leader

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West Wales. . . . . 10

Japan. . . . . . . .26

IT HAS been a daunting fortnight for Japan but suddenly they showed how they gave a good account of themselves against Argentina recently and why they beat Scotland in 1989.

Yesterday at Narberth, in the rural heart of Pembrokeshire, they decisively beat a West Wales side of aspiring first-class players, to restore their confidence and credibility.

The foundation of victory was laid by the front-five forwards, who fired for the first time on tour, and were urged on by their hooker and captain Masahiro Kunda. They ripped the heart out of the scratch West Wales forwards, not only by the force of their dedication and commitment, but by their organisation.

They may be short in stature, even when beefed up, as they were yesterday, by a Tongan, a Fijian, and two Samoans, but they make up for that by being solidly built.

West Wales began brightly with a try by Stephen Barclay, but the Japanese response was a magnificent sweeping try with Kunda going over from the second phase. Then came some light entertainment when the referee awarded a try to Japan on a fictitious line five yards out. Sensibly he changed his decision. Rhodri Jones, one of the better Welsh players, scored a try but the lead was soon wiped out with a try by Tatsuya Maeda, which made it 10-14 at half time. Japan settled things with tries by Hirofumi Ouchi and Sinali Latu.

The prospects for Japan against Wales on Saturday now look a little brighter, but then Wales will be far far stronger than West Wales.

WEST WALES: D Weatherley (Swansea); S Barclay (Swansea), J Jardine (Aberavon), I Lewis (Swansea), G Wilkins (Bridgend); M Lewis (Bridgend), R Jones (Neath); I Buckett (Swansea), A Thomas (Neath), R Shaw (Swansea), G Llewellyn (capt, Neath), P Jones (Llanelli), I Davies (Swansea), A Varney (Neath), A Williams (Maesteg). Replacements: I Jones (Swansea) for I Davies, 48 min; H Harries (Llanelli) for R Jones, 48 min.

JAPAN: T Matsuda; T Maeda, M Fujikake, T Faamasino, Y Yoshida; S Aoki, Y Nagatomo; O Ota, M Kunda (capt), K Takahashi, Y Sakuraba, B Ferguson, S Kaleta, H Ouchi, S Latu.

Referee: R McDowell (Ireland).

Scores: Barclay (try, 3 min, 5-0); Kunda / Nagatomo (try / con, 11 min, 5-7); R Jones (try, 33 min, 10-7); Maeda / Nagatomo (try / con, 43 min, 10-14); Ouchi (try, 68 min, 10-19); Latu / Maeda (try / con, 80 min, 10-26).

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