Pumas run Japan ragged
MATCH REPORT: Argentina ran in seven tries to two to beat a willing, but outclassed, Japan 54-20 in their Test in Tokyo on Saturday.
The Pumas spoiled Jamie Joseph's first game as head coach of Japan by crushing the Brave Blossoms in swashbuckling style.
Flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez was the star for the Pumas, scoring 29 points - with two tries, five conversions and three penalties.
Wings Matías Moroni and Santiago Cordero also scored two tries each.
Sanchez kicked three penalties and added a try late in the first half as the visitors took a comfortable 21-6 lead at half-time.
Any chance for a comeback by Joseph's team was dashed when Santiago Cordero ran in a try three minutes after the break, which Sanchez converted, for a 28-6 lead.
The marauding Pumas bared their claws against a new-look Japan side, dominating in all areas with Sanchez orchestrating a comfortable victory in the Tokyo sunshine.
Japan, who themselves lit up the World Cup by famously winning three matches under Eddie Jones, began brightly as Yu Yamada's early penalty opened the scoring.
But from then on it was one-way traffic.
Moroni raced down the right wing to score and Argentina began to turn the screw after Sanchez collected a pass from scrumhalf Martin Landajo to score, before his trusty right boot forged a 21-6 half-time lead for the visitors.
The floodgates opened when Cordero touched down in the corner moments after the restart and Moroni finished off a slick breakaway move after 49 minutes.
Amanaki Mafi bulldozed over for Japan soon after, but Sanchez capped a breathtaking team try for Argentina before Cordero scored again and Cubelli completed the rout.
A late consolation from Lomano Lemeki did little to paper over the cracks for Japan, whose momentum has stalled woefully since the World Cup.
The Japanese look a shadow of the team which produced the biggest shock in the tournament's history by stunning mighty South Africa 34-32 and then toppling Samoa and the United States.
Asia's top side, who lost a pair of home Tests against Scotland earlier this year, face Georgia in Tbilisi next week and then Wales and France away later this month.
Cons: Tamura 2
Pens: Tamura 2
Tries:Moroni 2, Sanchez 2, Cordero 2, Cubelli
Cons: Sanchez 5
Pens: Sanchez 3
Japan : 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 Amanaki Lotoahea, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Yuu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 7 Yuhimaru Mimura, 6 Uwe Helu, 5 Samuela Anise, 4 Kyosuke Kajikawa, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Satoshi Nakatani.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Heiichiro Ito, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Malgene Ilaua, 21 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 22 Takahiro Ogawa, 23 Timothy Lafaele.
Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera.
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Leonardo Senatore, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England), Tim Baker (Hong Kong)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)