3 Nov 2013

All Blacks scrap to victory over Japan

6:00 am on 3 November 2013

The All Backs have begun their end-of-year tour with a comprehensive 54-6 win over Japan, in a sometimes scrappy test in Tokyo.

The New Zealanders started slowly and lost continuity in the second half but were too good for the Brave Blossoms, who gave away several penalties.

The All Blacks led 28-6 at half time.

Charles Piutau, Sam Cane, Ben Smith and Richie McCaw scored tries in the first half, all of which were converted by Dan Carter.

Japan kicked two early penalties, both by Ayumu Goromaru, to trail only 7-6 at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.

After the interval Piutau added a second, and Jeremy Thrush, Frank Halai, and Beauden Barrett all scored a try apiece. Carter added another conversion before being replaced and Barrett kicked two conversions.

In previous World Cup matches between the teams, the All Blacks sauntered to victories, with scores of 145-17 and 83-7.

Coach Steve Hansen gave starts to Dominic Bird and Halai.

The All Blacks now travel to Europe where they will play France, England and Ireland.