England U20s, runners up in last year's tournament, got their 2009 JWC campaign off to an eventful start with a 43-0 win over Japan today.
43-0 looks comfortable enough on paper but there were some unsettling moments for England who had to overcome losing players to a red and a yellow card on their way to victory.
Head Coach Mark Mapletoft will take the bonus point win but probably acknowledge that there is work to do in several areas if his side are to improve on last year's showing.
England struggled to assert their superiority in the early stages in testing, wet conditions in Tokyo.
The home team were aggressive in defence, understandably backed by a vociferous crowd, and handling mistakes were commonplace.
Gloucester's Dan Williams worked hard in the tight, carrying the ball around the fringes and clearing out rucks powerfully.
Bath flanker Josh Ovens got things going as he broke from inside in his own half and romped into the Japan half. The support wasn't quite there but England were patient and Ovens finished off the move after a couple more phases.
And the back row prominent again in England's second score as Chris York powered over from close range after a muscular break from the back of a set scrum from Carl Fearns.
Skipper Luke Eves led from the front as he took a great angle to score England's third just before the interval and England looked to be away with a 24-0 interval lead.
It was Eves' last contribution as he was replaced at half time by Gloucester's Henry Trinder and England started the second half in search of the bonus point try.
But things took an unexpected twist early in the second period as Quins prop Joseph Marler was sent off on the advice of the touch judge.
Understandably buoyed, Japan piled on the pressure but turned over ball near the England line and scrum half Ben Youngs broke and put winger George Lowe in for a sprint to the corner from his own 22.
England added a fifth as Fearns smashed his way over from a 5m scrum but were then reduced to 13 men as Bob Baker was yellow carded for slowing the ball down in a ruck.
With the game losing some fluency as the second half ebbed away, Trinder almost got on the scoresheet but was halted just short but Courtney Lawes took a flat pass to stroll through a gap and cross untouched.
Dave Lewis got a half hour run out as a second half replacement for Youngs and had a couple of worrying moments as he had kicks charged down in his own half which was perhaps understandable give the lack of forwards protecting him at the breakdown.
But his service out of hand looked slick and his confidence looked unaffected after a couple of sniping runs.
Speaking to GRTV after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke of his delight in securing a 28-6 win over Harlequins at Kingsholm. He hailed the home side's defence which they were quick to turn into attack.
Speaking to the local media, Bill Meakes this week explained how he was relishing the challenge against Harlequins at Kingsholm, and that he is enjoying the opportunity to develop his game time, and repaying the faith from the Cherry and White coaches
Gloucester look to build upon the local derby win over Bath last weekend with Harlequins the visitors to Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 3pm). Director of Rugby David Humphreys is expecting a close game with the two teams well matched, although it may not be a 78 point thriller like the last time the two teams met.
Named Man of the Match by BT Sport, scrum-half Willi Heinz said after the 15-11 win at Bath on Friday evening that it was a pretty happy Gloucester dressing room and reward for a lot of hard work put in during the week leading up to the game.
Speaking after the 15-11 win over Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, David Humphreys heaped praise on his players, pointing out how they had bounced back after last week's tough defeat to overcome a rough start before controlling the game and earning the win.
Gloucester Rugby hooker Richard Hibbard spoke to the local media this week as the Cherry and Whites prepare to face Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership. The Welshman is ready to bounce back at The Rec.
Speaking to the local media about the local derby against Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter but hugely exciting at the same time and one the squad are looking forward to.
A visibly disappointed Billy Twelvetrees admitted that it was a very sombre Gloucester dressing room as a last minute try and conversion condemned the Cherry and Whites to an 18-19 defeat against Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
After a disappointing opening weekend loss to their Scottish counterparts, England U20s will be eager to bounce back in Italy this evening, with Gloucester flyer Mat Protheroe set to pull the strings from fly half.
Gloucester Rugby make just the one change to the starting line up that won at Bath last Friday evening, flanker Matt Kvesic restored to the starting XV as the Cherry and Whites welcome Harlequins to Kingsholm in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 3pm).
The Early Bird deadline for ticket purchases for the Aviva Premiership fixture against Harlequins on Saturday will expire at 6:30pm on Thursday evening, with tickets already limited for one area of Kingsholm.