At the double: Wales' two-try hero Martyn Williams

CARDIFF, 20 September -  Wales eventually managed to subdue a tenacious Japan for a comprehensive 72-18 victory in their Pool B match at Millennium Stadium.

Nine men went over in the 11-try romp as Wales posted their biggest score and biggest win in rugby world cups.

Some determined Japan defence and inventive attack for much of the opening stanza kept the Cherry Blossoms in striking distance, trailing 29-11 at the break after the home side had only just started to assert authority.

Wales resumed full of fire and big scrum half Michael Phillips was over for his team's fifth try following some good lead-up work.

The score served to settle some jangled Welsh nerves and the men in red began to string several phases together for some much sought-after continuity to their game.

They capitalised to run in a further six tries for the half, with busy openside flanker Martyn Williams and crafty left wing Shane Williams the only two to nab a double.

However, Japan simply refused to lie down. They contested every possession and tackled anything in red that moved right to the last and two of the game's most spectacular tries both belonged to them.

Midway through the first half second row Hitoshi Ono helped himself to some unattended ball at the back of a Welsh ruck to ignite a sweeping movement that went through four sets of hands to have flying wing Kosuke Endo diving over 80m away.

In the 56th minute Japan left wing Hirotoki - 'the Rubber Man' – Onozawa intercepted a pass from Wales number 8 Alix Popham to scorch away from the desperate defence and dive over virtually untouched.

RNS mp/mr