Japan 31- 69 New Zealand: All Blacks cruise in front of record Tokyo crowd

A second string All Blacks side featuring eight debutants thrashed Japan 69-31 in Tokyo, with centre Ngani Laumape scoring a hat-trick of tries.

Fly-half Richie Mo’unga finished with 22 points, as the reigning world champions beat next year’s World Cup hosts in front of a record crowd for a rugby match in Japan of 43,751.

Hooker Dane Coles scored New Zealand’s first try on his return to the side after almost a year out with injury, while winger George Bridge scored twice, including one with his first touch as an All Black.

Japan were lively in attack and managed five tries to contribute to the 100-point tally for the match – but could not contain the All Blacks in defence, missing 25 tackles.

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A close-to-capacity crowd at the Ajinomoto Stadium were dreaming of an improbable victory when lock Samuela Anise charged down Jordie Barrett’s kick to score the first try of the game for Japan after five minutes.

However, the new-look All Blacks soon surged into gear and Coles went over in the corner following a fine pass from Laumape.

Mo’unga broke through a Japanese tackle to score his first All Blacks try on 20 minutes, before Laumape opened his account to give New Zealand a 24-7 lead after half an hour.

Tries from Japan number eight Hendrik Tui and centre Timothy Lafaele, either side of Laumape’s second and a maiden score for All Blacks scrum-half Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, meant the hosts kept the half-time score respectable at 38-19.

Following a raft of changes that saw six more players make their All Black bows, however, the strength in depth at head coach Steve Hansen’s disposal became evident.

Bridge, a half-time replacement, scored the try of the game with his first touch as a Test player, following a superb break from Mo’unga.

Jamie Henry, who was making his Test debut for Japan, then ran onto flyhalf Yu Tamura’s kick through to score in the corner and reduce the All Blacks lead to 21 points, with just under half an hour remaining.

However, tries from winger Waisake Naholo and centre Matt Proctor, as well as further scores from Laumape and Bridge piled on the points to give a fair reflection of New Zealand’s dominance.

But the home crowd were treated to the final try of the match, a second from Lafaele with 10 minutes remaining, as Japan amassed their highest points tally against the All Blacks.

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