Second-string All Blacks can still stroll in Tokyo
Japan leaked tries in 2017 home Tests with Ireland and Australia
The autumn internationals begin in Tokyo early on Saturday with Japan hosting New Zealand and bookmakers look right to expect an easy All Blacks win even though it is a second-string selection by Steve Hansen.
The Brave Blossoms were beaten 31-28 by a World XV in Osaka last Friday and last year they conceded 21 tries in three home Tests against Ireland and Australia.
Fly-half Richie Mo’unga is the only Kiwi to have featured in last Saturday’s 37-20 success over the Wallabies in Yokohama, but he and fellow backs Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Ngani Laumape and Waisake Naholo are unlucky not to have been in the All Blacks contingent that headed to England early.
Ace hooker Dane Coles returns after nearly a year on the sidelines in a pack where the other four in the tight five performed strongly at the set-piece and breakdown in New Zealand’s 35-17 triumph over Argentina in Buenos Aires at the end of September.
Skipper Luke Whitelock would have played against the Pumas but for illness and he, Vaea Fifita and debutant Dalton Papali’i is likely to be a dynamic back row.
Japan will possess a threat but the All Blacks should stretch clear.
New Zealand to win by 31-40 points
1pt 11-4 BoyleSports
Read Racing Post Sport every day for no-nonsense previews and expert sports betting tips
Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport
Like us on Facebook RacingPostSport