Kuridrani leads Australia to 63-30 thrashing of Japan
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Australia kicked off their end-of-season tour of the northern hemisphere with a 63-30 thrashing of Japan on Saturday.
Still on a high after beating world champions New Zealand at home last month, the Wallabies scored nine tries in an impressive display at the Yokohama Stadium that will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
Outside center Tevita Kuridrani helped himself to a hat-trick while his bustling midfield partner Samu Kerevi crossed for a double as the Wallabies overpowered Japan in their first meeting in a decade.
Henry Speight, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Nick Phipps and Rob Simmons also scored while flyhalf Reece Hodge kicked all nine conversions he attempted in an Australian team revamped because of injuries and the unavailability of some players.
The Wallabies are heading to Britain next for internationals against Wales, England and Scotland.
"We were really happy with 60 minutes of our play," said Australian captain Michael Hooper. "Some players had really good games. We're off to Wales tomorrow, so moving on."
Trailing 35-3 at halftime, Japan salvaged some pride with three second-half tries from Amanaki Mafi, Wimpe van der Walt and Kazuki Himeno as the Brave Blossoms posted their highest score in five test defeats against Australia dating back to 1975.
"The Japanese players played with a lot of heart and turned us over a lot of times at the breakdown," Hooper said. "They got 30 points on us — and we've got to do better than that — but it was wonderful to play here. We're building toward 2019 so coming here and checking things out has been really productive for us as a squad."