Akihito Yamada celebrated his brief return to Tokyo with a couple of tries as Japan beat Hong Kong 41-0 on Saturday to keep up its perfect start to the Asia Rugby Championship.
But the speedster’s brace was one of the view bright spots on a disappointing day at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground.
On a glorious spring day, ideal for running rugby, it was the whistle of referee Norman Drake that dominated proceedings, the official handing out 31 penalties over the course of the game.
“That is an unusually high number of penalties on an occasion like this,” was Hong Kong coach Andy Hall’s take on proceedings, before saying the onus is on the players to adapt to the referee.
Japan coach Eddie Jones was a little blunter, however, saying it was “difficult to play away from the set piece with a referee like that.”