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East Japan 31 England Counties 67
RFU: Press Release (IP Logged)
08 June, 2009 17:09
England Counties turn on power in Tokyo
Monday June 8, 2009

East Japan 31 England Counties 67

England Counties stepped up a gear from their record win in Korea to run in nine tries against a much more competitive East Japan side in Tokyo.

They trailed after half-an-hour against a lively representative side that frustrated them at the breakdown and liked to zip the ball ambitiously around the Edogawa-ku Stadium.

But once the tourists tightened up in defence and attack - breaking tackles in midfield and controlling the contact area - they pulled away with six second-half scores.

Stourbridge and Berkshire scrum half Tom Richardson touched down twice with the rest coming from centres Pat Leach and Kyle Dench, wing James Aston, flanker Wayne Sprangle, prop Rob O'Donnell, replacement fly half Mark Woodrow and full back Gareth Collins.

Huw Thomas converted six and kicked two penalties with Woodrow supplying the final two conversions.

Professional outfit Yamaha Jubilo, who they face down the coast on Friday, should offer much more of an organised and physical test.

But the Counties clearly have some attacking talent with centre pair Dench and Leach particularly impressive going forward.

East Japan led 14-10 after wing Satoshi Nakahama and hooker Shunsuke Nukamori scoring either side of Leach's 18th minute slice through their defence.

Then North Midlands wing Aston wrestled his way over the line before Sprangle drove over to finish off an 80 metre counterattack.

Dench's hard line immediately after the break put them further in front and O'Donnell followed up another sweeping attack down the left for the fifth score.

Woodrow's smart show of the ball enabled him to add number six on the hour before Collins ran back a 70 metre kick reception, pouncing when his chip ahead was fumbled by the final defender.

East Japan scored three tries in the final 14 minutes as the game fragmented through Fatario Nishio, Shinnosuke Sato and Yuta Mochizuki.

Richardson replied with two of his own, though, to sign off a successful evening's work to build substantially on their 108-10 victory in Seoul last week.

East Japan:
Hidetaka Shibahara; Keita Katsumata, Takashi Tanuma, Kuniaki Takayama, Satoshi Nakahama; Ryota Fujil, Yuji Shibamoto; Atsushi Tanabe, Shunsuke Nukamori, Yohei Umehara, Yoichi Iijima, Shinya Makabe, Yuta Mochizuki, Takahisa Miyamoto, Masaru Mabuchi.

Replacements: Kohei Kuroki for Nukamori 50, Ayumu Kasahara for Iijima 50, Hiroki Yamamoto for Miyamoto 50, Koh Hosaka for Shibamoto 20, Fataro Nishio for Takayam 50, Shinnosuke Sato for Shibahara 37.
Scorers: Tries: Nakahama, Nukamori, Nishio, Sato, Mochizuki. Conversions: Fujil 3.

England Counties:
Gareth Collins (Leicester Lions & Warwickshire), Nick Royle (Fylde & Lancashire), Kyle Dench (Otley & Yorkshire), Patrick Leach (Manchester & Cheshire), James Aston (North Midlands), Tom Eaton (Manchester & Cheshire), Huw Thomas (Nuneaton & Warwickshire); Rob O'Donnell (Sale & Lancashire), Owen Hambly (Redruth & Cornwall), Peter Joyce (Redruth & Cornwall), Mike Howard (Bedford & Eastern Counties), Paul Ralph (Manchester & Cheshire), Seb Moss (Manchester & Lancashire), Wayne Sprangle (Plymouth Albion & Somerset), Jason Smithson (Blaydon & Northumberland, captain).

Joe Graham (Tynedale & Cumbria) for Hambly 60, Chris Rowland (Somerset) for O'Donnell 70, Chris Rainbow (Hertford & Hertfordshire) for Howard 45, Tom Richardson (Stourbridge & Berkshire) for Dench 60-63, for Thomas 67, Mark Woodrow (Birmingham Solihull & Gloucestershire) for Eaton 48, Jack Harrison (Tynedale & Northumberland) for Leach 60.

Scorers: Tries: Richardson 2, Leach, Aston, Sprangle, Dench, O'Donnell, Woodrow, Collins. Conversions: Thomas 6, Woodrow 2. Penalties: Thomas 2.

Tour itinerary
June 5: Korea President's XV 10 England Counties 108
June 8: East Japan 31 England Counties 67
June 12: Yamaha Jubilo v England Counties (Yamaha Resort Tsumagoi)

England Counties quotes:
England News (IP Logged)
09 June, 2009 08:28
England Counties quotes: Baldwin, Sprangle, Harrison, Leach, Smithson

Tuesday June 9, 2009

England Counties beat East Japan 67-31 in Tokyo last night, scoring nine tries after trailing 14-10 midway through the first half to build on last week's record 108-'10 win against a Korea President's XV in Seoul. Selection takes place tomorrow for their final tour game against Top League side Yamaha Jubilo on Friday.

DAVE BALDWIN (Manchester, head coach):

"We weren't happy with our first half performance. We took our time to get going, they put some pressure on us at the breakdown and caused us a few problems. But we got to half-time in the lead having got a couple of tries near the end.
"At the break we spoke about keeping the ball, being a bit more patient, and we knew we were physically stronger than them and they would tire. They were flying up in defence and we just had to keep the pressure on them.

"This was a completely different side to the one that played last Friday and we'd still got lots of plays we hadn't used before, so it's good to have all that under our belts now.
"We've got a few big lads, they're very physical, and lots of ball-carriers which is a great thing for a coach."

Plymouth Albion and Somerset flanker WAYNE SPRANGLE, who scored his second try in two games:

"I've missed out on this for the last couple of years, getting married and then not making the cut, and this time I'm grasping it with both hands. Competition for back row places is pretty hot and the one thing I benefit from is being able to play six or seven, but I don't select the team. I think I went well against East Japan so I've put my name into the hat and got over to score again so it's going well.

"The 108-10 scoreline against the Korea President's side suggests we didn't have to defend too much. Here we got some good hits in early. It was tough and we were behind a couple of times but we settled down, built a platform and then started scoring points.

"They were good at killing the ball and played the referee well. We just had to make sure that we matched up, cleared them out of the way and didn't leave anyone isolated in the tackle area.

"Our attacking play went well, we hit the ball from depth and ran some great lines.
"The next game will be a step up again for us and I'd be happy if I'm selected. I wanted to have a good week and get my name in the hat for the final game and I think I've done that."

Tynedale and Northumberland threequarter JACK HARRISON:

"We got a bit of a wake-up call early in this game which we needed because the last game we ran riot a bit. This time them scoring the first try did us some good and made sure we got into gear and got things going.

"We knew they were keen defensively because they were flying up really hard from the off, which didn't happen at all in the first game.

"But we switched on and used our patterns and eventually everything clicked for us to score a few tries.
"These two games were our build up for our Test match against the Yamaha club, who are going to be very good and everyone here's been battling for the places against them."

Cricket convert PATRICK LEACH, the Manchester and Cheshire centre, also scored:

"I've been at Manchester for half a season and wasn't doing much before. I knew a couple of boys who are on this tour like Seb Moss and they dragged me over to Manchester and it's turned out well. It's all happened really quickly this season.

"I'm 23 now and I played rugby at Colwyn Bay when I left school, then was with Orrell for a season. I'd had a couple of offers to play in Italy which I didn't take and I've been focused on cricket with trials at Warwickshire and Derbyshire,and playing some Minor Counties cricket for Wales. Glamorgan are using Colwyn Bay as their Academy side, so they have a one-off game against the MCC at Lord's which I've played in.

But time's passing by and maybe cricket's loss is going to be rugby's gain. I'd love to take it further. I'd always put it off but at 23 now's the time to push on a bit.
"I thought our performance was really good. We had a great game on Friday in Seoul and had plenty of changes for this one but still went well. Everyone's working hard for each other and the morale is good.

"We've got one game to come but I'm not too worried about who's in their side. I'm happy to play anyone at the moment."

Captain JASON SMITHSON (Blaydon and Northumberland) on leading an England side for the first time:

"That was a fantastic result to win over here by 30-odd points against East Japan. We knew it would be a lot harder than last Friday and we prepared in the correct manner and put a few things in place that we'd worked on from the Korean game. We looked at our patterns of play, positional things, who was the designated ball-carrier and so on and working hard on the ball we were getting from the setpiece.
"We know we've got the potential to break teams down if we can keep the ball and build some pressure on them.
"We certainly did that against East Japan and it was agreat privilege to lead the lads out and come away with victory in the manner that we did. Scoring those tries was great for our confidence."

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