Korea outlast Kazakhstan in A5N
May 17, 2008

Korea outlasted a tough challenge from a rapidly improving Kazakhstan 40-21 in today's opening match of Week 4 of the HSBC Asian Five Nations series in Incheon, South Korea.

In the second match of Week 4 on Sunday, Japan and Hong Kong, the two remaining undefeated teams in the HSBC Asian Five Nations Series, will battle for bragging rights in Niigata, Japan.

After a brave but convincing defeat at the hands of Japan last weekend in Almaty, Kazakhstan again proved they are an emerging force in Asian rugby with a close run encounter against heavily fancied Korea.

Korea started the scoring in the 17th minute with an unconverted try to lock Kim Young Nam. Kazakhstan replied in the 28th minute with a try to Ildar Abdrazakov, which was converted by fullback Maxim Lifontov. Lifontov, one of Kazakhstan's most promising players, then drew a yellow card just ten minutes later.

Korea immediately converted their man advantage scoring their second try of the first half through hooker Kim Tae Hyung just seconds after Lifontov's sin-binning. A successful conversion by Korean fly-half Hong Jun Ki brought the score to Korea 12, Kazakhstan 7 as the teams entered the changing sheds.

Korea struck first immediately after the interval through electrifying fullback Chae Jae Young. The successful conversion by Hong Jun Ki brought the score to 19-7 Korea. Korea then drew two yellow cards to Kim Young Nam and tighthead prop Heo Wong in the 11th and 12th minutes of the second half. Despite the two man disadvantage Korea scored again In the 19th minute through flanker You Young Nam to bring the score to 26-7 after the conversion.

Undaunted, Kazakhstan replied with its second try of the match to centre Dmitriy Pichugin, whose try was again converted by Lifontov to bring the score to 26 - 14 Korea.

Shortly after coming on as a substitute, Korean outside centre Kim Jeong Min crashed through for a try to bring the score to 33 - 14 after a successful conversion by replacement fly-half Oh Youn Hyung.

Flanker Grigory Invanchenko clawed one last try back from Kazakhstan in the 37th minute, which was successfully converted to bring the score to 33 - 21 Korea. The home side scored its sixth try of the match deep in injury time to bring the final score after the conversion by Oh to 40 - 21 Korea.

The result sees Korea stake a claim on second place in the HSBC Asian Five Nations Series. Korea has now picked up its second bonus point victory in as many weeks and now has 12 points in the series to Hong Kong's 10, although Hong Kong still has a game in hand on Korea.

The results of today's match and tomorrow's Japan v Hong Kong clash in Niigata are setting the stage for an exciting finale next weekend with the Hong Kong v Korea tie at King's Park, Hong Kong.

The penultimate weekend of Asian Five Nations rugby will conclude with tomorrow's (Sunday, 18 May) clash between table toppers Japan and Hong Kong at the FIFA World Cup 2002 ground, Big Swan Stadium, in Niigata (kick-off 2.00pm Japan time).

Tomorrow's Japan v Hong Kong match can be seen live on Eurosport Asia and SKYTV New Zealand. ESPN STAR SPORTS will carry the match on a tape delayed basis throughout Asia.

Korea 40
Tries: Kim Young Nam, Kim TaeHyung (2), Chae Jae Young, You Young Nam, Kim Jeong Min
Con: Hong Jun Ki (3), Oh YH (2)

Kazakhstan 21
Tries: Ildar Abdrazakov, Dmitriy Pichugin, G. Ivanchenko
Con: M. Lifontov (3)

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