Japan thrashed fierce rivals South Korea 50-14 on Sunday to reach the final Asian qualifying round for next year’s rugby World Cup.
Japanese winger Daisuke Ohata scored two tries to close to within two of Australian David Campese’s world record of 64 Test match tries under drizzly Tokyo skies, Reuters reported.
Japan touched down for five tries in a one-sided first half, taking a 33-0 advantage into the break and were never troubled by the Koreans thereafter.
Victory gave Japan a perfect 2-0 record in the first stage of Asian qualifiers after they trounced the Arabian Gulf 82-9 last weekend.
“It was a solid performance,” Japan’s French coach Jean-Pierre Elissalde told reporters. “We controlled the first half and played very well.
“We lost our focus a bit in the second half and didn’t control the ball as well. We need to be stronger physically to compete with the top sides in the world.”
South Korea and the Arabian Gulf, a team made up of players from across the region, meet on May 5 for the right to join Japan in November’s final qualifying round.
The winner of the second tier group involving China, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka will join the two Division One qualifiers.
Japan will be favourites to top the final round and reach their sixth successive World Cup in France next year. The runners-up will face a playoff against a team from the Oceania region.