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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 September 2007, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Wales 72-18 Japan
By Nabil Hassan

Shane Williams
Shane Williams passed Ieuan Evans' record

Wales (29) 72
Tries: A W Jones, Hook, R Thomas, Morgan, Phillips, S Williams (2), James, Cooper, M Williams (2)
Cons: S Jones (5), Sweeney (2)
Pens: S Jones

Japan (11) 18
Tries: Endo, Onozawa
Cons: Robins
Pens: Onishi (2)

Wales got their 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign back on track with an emphatic 72-18 victory over Japan at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Gareth Jenkins' men scored 11 tries in an entertaining affair to bounce back from Saturday's defeat to Australia.

Japan did make a game of it, though, and scored a try in each half including a spectacular length-of-the-field effort finished off by Kosuke Endo.

But Wales were too strong and face Fiji next in Nantes on 29 September.

That game could prove to be a Pool B decider, and if Wales repeat their second-half performance from Thursday's game then they should progress through to the quarter-finals stage of the World Cup.

It was Japan who opened the scoring with Shotaro Onishi sending over a penalty.

Gareth Lewis - BBC Sport

And despite early pressure it took Wales 10 minutes to break down the Japanese resistance with the opening try, scored by Alun Wyn Jones in the corner, to settle any nerves in the home crowd.

But any thoughts of a Welsh avalanche were soon put to rest with a superb try from Japan.

Camped on their own line in the left corner, it looked as if the Japanese would be conceding their second score of the evening.

But Wales lost a five-metre scrum and the Japanese backs set off from their own try-line to run the length of the field, eventually scoring in the right corner through wing Endo.

Kosuke Endo
Kosuke Endo touches down for Japan

It was one of the great World Cup tries, but no more than Japan deserved for their sheer endeavour in an entertaining opening 20 minutes.

The try was the wake-up call Wales needed and Stephen Jones soon sent over a close-range penalty to give his side the lead.

A couple of minutes later they were further ahead with James Hook evading several tackles on the wing to race home and go over in the corner for 15-8.

Jones converted, as he did several minutes later on the half-hour after hooker Rhys Thomas had bundled over from close range to score his first international try for Wales.

Japan kept plugging away, as you would expect from a team coached by All Black legend John Kirwan, and Onishi narrowed the deficit to 13 points with his side's first penalty.

But on the stroke of half-time Wales secured a valuable bonus point after Kevin Morgan finished off a flowing three-quarter move to dive over for 29-11 at the break.

Sean Davies' World Cup blog

Wales' second-half display was notable for a number of reasons.

Firstly for the performance of Mike Phillips, who has now given coach Jenkins a real selection dilemma ahead of next week's clash with Fiji.

Phillips was at the centre of everything good that Wales did in the second-half before he was replaced by Gareth Cooper after 53 minutes.

The Ospreys scrum-half scored their first try of the period after only a minute, powering through several tackles to dive over under the posts.

A few minutes later Phillips pulled off a delightful chip and catch to feed Shane Williams who dived over for 41-11.

The try was Williams' 33rd for Wales, equalling former skipper Ieuan Evans' mark. And it was all the more sweet for the Ospreys wing as he was winning his 50th cap.

Also of note was lock Ian Evans entering proceedings for his first rugby since 23 December, and showing that he could still have a big part to play in the rest of Wales' World Cup campaign.

Dafydd James continued Wales try-fest mid-way through the second half to increase their lead 48-11 thanks to Jones' conversion.

Japan, to their credit, kept plugging away and on 56 minutes they got their second try of the night. It was just as good as the first.

Wing Hirotoki Onozawa outpaced the Welsh backs to score from inside his own half for 48-18, with Onishi adding the extras.

The try avalanche continued with Cooper, Martyn Williams and Shane Williams, who scored a second in the dying minutes of the game to pass Evans and pull within five tries of Gareth Thomas' all-time Welsh record.

Wales: Morgan, D. James, Robinson, Hook, S. Williams, S. Jones, Phillips, D. Jones, R. Thomas, Horsman, W. James, A. Jones, Charvis, M. Williams, Popham.
Replacements: Shanklin for Robinson (73), Sweeney for S. Jones (54), Cooper for Phillips (57), Jenkins for Horsman (65), Evans for A. Jones (52), Owen for Popham (58). Not Used: Bennett.

Japan: Loamanu, Endo, Imamura, Onishi, Onozawa, Robins, Yoshida, Nishiura, Matsubara, Soma, H. Ono, Thompson, Watanabe, Makiri, Miuchi.
Replacements: Taira for Imamura (51), Kusumi for Onishi (52), Kim for Yoshida (66), Yamamura for Nishiura (54), Inokuchi for Matsubara (75), Kiso for Thompson (66), Asano for Makiri (52).

Att: 35,245

Ref: J Jutge (France).

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