Rugby World Cup 1999
Ruthless Wales hammer Japan
October 16, 1999
Wales scrum-half Rob Howley crashes over to score in the corner
© Getty Images
Wales went on a scoring rampage Saturday, trouncing hapless Japan 64-15 in their World Cup Group D match at the Millennium Stadium as fly-half Neil Jenkins equalled the record for points scored in Tests. Wales scored 38 unanswered points in a desperately one-sided second half.
The Dragons got two tries from centre Mark Taylor and one each from wing Allan Bateman, scrum-half Rob Howley, and Scott Gibbs, fullback Shane Howarth, replacements David Llewellyn and Gareth Thomas and a penalty try, while Jenkins kicked eight conversions and a penalty.
Jenkins' 19 points saw him draw level with Australian Michael Lynagh's world record of 911 Test points. Japan's points came from tries by wings Daisuke Ohata and Pat Tuidrake, the first converted by fly-half Keiji Hirose who also landed a penalty - all in the first half.
Hosts Wales won their opening match of the tournament against Argentina, while Japan lost to Samoa. Despite two wins from two games, the Welsh are not certain of finishing on top of the group. They still need at least a point from their final match against Samoa.
The loss ended Japan's hopes of advancing past the first round of the World Cup for the first time. Wales are now unbeaten in 10 straight matches under New Zealand coach Graham Henry and scored their sixth victory in six meetings with Japan.
Japan, the Pacific Rim champions, buried the shame of their 145-17 loss to New Zealand in 1995, with a determined performance until being swamped in the second half. Wales took the lead after only six minutes when Bateman scored under the posts.
The Welsh retained possession from a five-metre lineout and the ball passed through the hands of Howley and Jenkins for Bateman to burst through some flimsy defence and score. Jenkins converted to make it 7-0.
Just five minutes later, Howley squirmed his way through to dot down in the right corner, although Jenkins' kick from the sideline was unsuccessful. Japan hit back when the pacy Ohata found space on the right and left three would-be tacklers in his wake as he unleashed a fearsome burst of speed to score. Hirosi's conversion bounced onto the crossbar but went over to reduce the Welsh lead to five points.
Wales roared back after 24 minutes, however, and were awarded a penalty try when French referee Joel Dume penalised the Japanese for being repeatedly offside close to the line. Jenkins added the extra points.
Two minutes later a fine, flowing move saw fullback Shane Howarth set up a fourth Welsh try for the prolific Mark Taylor. Jenkins' kick made it 26-7. Japan lifted their hopes just before halftime when Tuidrake went over in the corner, but Hirose's kick missed.
Four minutes into injury time, Hirose landed a penalty that also bounced off the crossbar and went over. From the moment the second half started, the Welsh dominated with some razzle-dazzle rugby.
First Gibbs went over in the 47th minute after a superb length of the field move and then Howarth went over 11 minutes later. Jenkins converted both tries and bisected them with a penalty.
In the 62nd minute, Taylor crossed for his second try and Jenkins again landed the conversion. Seven minutes later it was Llewellyn, on for Howley, who strolled over the line and Jenkins was again successful. Fellow replacement Thomas crossed the line for the ninth Welsh try in the 76th minute and Jenkins conversion pulled him level with Lynagh.