Ganbatte Japanese Brave Blossoms V All Blacks Tonight NZ 16 Sept 2011

The Rugby World Cup Tonight Presents the Japanese Brave Blossoms against the New Zealand All Blacks.

The sports commentators on Maori television right now, talking to Glen Osborne, are saying that they expect the All Blacks to win tonight, in the match against Japan at Hamilton, New Zealand.  Nevertheless, there is an awful lot of interest in the Japanese Brave Blossoms rugby team, and this team has  many supporters here in New Zealand.  They play a very fast game, and ‘can run all day’, and are capable of putting up a formidable fight against the All Blacks. John Kirwan, who is the coach for the Japanese rugby team,  hopes that Japan is acknowledged overall, at the end of the Rugby World Cup,  as  being the most improved rugby team of all the world cup players.  John Kirwan says that the final score is not what it’s all about – Its about being the best that you can be.  He wants to see the Japanese playing  good consistent rugby, and see them playing  competitively.

There are seven New Zealand players in the Japanese team, including James Aldridge,who comes from Hamilton.   The nick-name of the Japanese rugby team, because of its New Zealand players, is the ‘Japaniwi” team.  “Iwi” is a kiwi term for ‘tribe’, or ‘family’.  So the term  ‘Japaniwi’ is an endearing one.

Last Saturday we saw  them playing very well, very dynamically, and providing an exciting spectacle  for an excited crowd of 30,000, when they played France at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.

Graham Henry, coach for the All Blacks,  has just been speaking about the match tonight, on Maori television.  He said that the Japanese are now playing a lot of  international rugby, and that this, combined with the expert coaching that they are receiving from John Kirwan, is starting to show.  The All Blacks played the Japanese in South Africa, in 1995, which saw the All Blacks beat the Japanese by around 100 points.  But Graham Henry says that he suspects the Japanese did not get many opportunities at this time, to play international sides.  Now that the Japanese have had all this experience of playing rugby on the world scale, they are a force to be reckoned with.  Graham Henry noted that,  in the Japanese game against France last Saturday,  there was only a four point difference with 20 minutes to go.  This was dangerous  moment for the French side.

Graham Henry has a lot of respect for John Kirwan as a coach:  Of the ex- All Black player John Kirwan, Graham Henry says:  “He’s a hell of a good player” – that he was famous for his ability to “score tries out of nothing” – and that he is a “hell of a good man.”

Graham Henry, the All Black coach says that the object tonight for his team is to “play games within games” – to “develop certain aspects of our game” – This was sthe aim, he said, in the match against Tonga, and that they would try tonight  to do the same against the Japanese.

Coach Graham Henry is a great communicator and teacher: As coach for the All Blacks for many years, he is renowned for having  built the best rugby squad in the world. I think that this is partly because of his good communication skills.  A commentator was asked tonight what Graham Henry will be saying to his team in the dressing room right now:  The answer was that he would be using Te Reo Maori to encourage them all along.  “He speaks Te Reo Maori – not like our Prime Minister”, was the answer. He settles for top team, with key players – but always keeps some players for the semi final  in case of  injuries – need to protect the team against injuries, which is why he rotates players- always another opinion on his judgements, he says – but, as in his own words – ‘what would the public say if his key players were all out by the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup, because of injury?  We wouldn’t be very popular then”, he said.

“We are trying to be logical – we try to think ahead – try to cover all the bases”,  says Graham Henry.

Players to look out for, for selection in in the big game against France ahead:

Conrad Smith

Richard Kahui

Israel  – top 3 for France match ???

Tonga did well  against the All Blacks – they put up a good fight, and dominated a lot of territory and possession against the  All Blacks in the last game, says All Black coach Graham Henry.

Graham Henry says of the All Blacks that “how they perform – score is irelevant -it’s  all about how they perform for selection for the side against France”  – these are the things which they will be looking at in tonight’s match against Japan.

Maybe 67 to New Zealand- 15 to Japan ????? Guess for the score tonight by one speculator.

Laurie Mains was interviewed on Maori TV tonight just before the match against Japan – In 1995 he  led the All Black team – Laurie had the dream of playing at Carrisbrooke – otago in carrisbrooke – had a  dream of becoming an All Black – pride of pulling on the jersey – didn’t chop and change in those days, so you got to know how everyone played – pride in the club – built great friendships – all gone now –  a sense of great responsibility of  the New Zealand public on your shoulders – good pressure to have”, says Laurie Mains.

What was Laurie Mains like as a coach?, asked Glen Osborne.   “He was a hard coach – not into the media – got the best out of players – determined – not so good in communications.” – Glen Osborne said if you were in the same lift as Laurie Mains, heading for level 15 – You would be in the lift together and Laurie would say nothing – So you would  jump out at level 3 and grab the next lift, to avoid the tension.

Glen asked who is the best coach the All Blacks have ever had:  Matt de Po  (spelling? – will have to check) – legendary coach – fantastic people person – brought about a great era of Maori rugby – the  result was that everyone wanted to play for Matt.

So – The Game Japan Versus New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2011:

First Half:  Tries for New Zealand are earnt by Jerome Kaiuo, Colin Slade, Kevin Mealamu, Andy Ellis, Richard Kahui. No Tries scored in the first half by Japan.

3 minutes in a try to New Zealand by Conrad Smith. 

Kevin Mealamu, the Captain for this match,  gets a Try for NZ around 19 minutes in.  Colin Slade starting to get good.  Score 24 to NZ Nil Japan.

First Try for Colin Slade around 35 minutes in.  He scores another Try when Ellis gives the ball to Slade..  Score Nil Japan, 38 New Zealand.

Jerome Kaiuo scores a Try for New Zealand around 20 minutes in.  Colin Slade misses the conversion kick – He misses three kicks, but gets better during the second half.

Possession of the ball at this stage – 63% to New Zealand, 37% to Japan.


Second half: Tries for New Zealand scored by Richard Kahui, Sonny Bill Williams, Ma’a Nonu, Colin Slade, Andrew Hore, Adam Thompson, Toeava.

Japan scores the First and only Try for the game, to the excitement and hearty applause of the spectators. This is scored by Onezawa. New Zealander Murray Williams kicks the conversion for Japan.

Richard Kahui scores his second try of the match for New Zealand,  44 minutes into the match.  Score now 45 New Zealand, Nil to Japan.

Sonny Bill Williams is playing this half.  No shirts off here yet.

50 minutes in Sonny Bill Williams scores a try – 50 points now to New Zealand, Nil to Japan.

Conversion kick – 52 NZ  – Nil Japan.

55 minutes – A Try fro NZ scored by Toeava , number 15, after much quick off-loading and running with the ball.

Try to Japan by Onezawa.  56 minutes in.   Fantastic for the Japanese.  Left winger number 11.

Murray Williams for Japan converts the Try.

Andrew Hore scores Try for NZ.

Colin Slade misses the Goal.

Sonny Bill Williams helps score – passes the ball to Ma’a Nonu, who gets the Try. Around 60 minutes in.

Colin Slade gets the goal. 61 minutes in.  69 points to NZ – Japan 7.

Number 9 Ozawa is the emerging talent in Asian rugby say the commentators.

Japanese player injured and taken off at 70 minutes.

Adam Thompson gets a try at 75 minutes after a nice pass by Ali Williams.  76 points to NZ and Japan 7

Having Ali Williams on for the second half is helping, so the commentators say.  As well as Sonny Bill Williams.

Richard Kahui kicks the ball up front to Sonny Bill Williams who scores the Try.  76 minutes in.

Commentators say that New Zealand is scoring selflessly – Players are not seeking to get the scores themselves, but giive the ball to whoever can get the ball a score, such as when Richard Kahui gave the ball to Sonny Bill Williams.

Final Score:  83 points New Zealand – Japan 7

We in New Zealand were all a little disappointed with the score – I think Japan performed a lot better when they literally tackled the French last Saturday. This was reflected by the score, as Japan earned about half the amount of points to France – 20 odd to Japan, and 40 odd to France.  Pity they were so fast and keen tonight, whilst  throwing caution to the wind in many cases. They often got off-side which gave the ball to New Zealand. But commentators, including Graham Henry, agree that the Japanese team has come a long way in 20 years.  It is significant that they are now playing World Cup Rugby.  We can expect good things from Japan in the future, when they gain a bit more experience on the international level.

The Japanese captain spoke straight after the match about the hard game against the All Blacks, and also  about the natural disasters in Japan and here in New Zealand.  Regarding the earthquakes and the people of Japan and New Zealand, he  said that he hopes we can work together as one.   We certainly do have much in common with the Japanese:  We are both island nations. We have both suffered disasters in the last 12 months. The island of Japan is similar in size and shape to New Zealand’s north and south, if you visualize the two islands of NZ as one.  They are both volcanic countries which lie on ‘the ring of fire’, and both are prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, although so far, New Zealand has not experienced a big tsunami.


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