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.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.
Having defeated Connacht Rugby in dramatic fashion in the first play-off for the final spot in the 2015-16 European Rugby Champions Cup, Gloucester Rugby can confirm ticketing details for next Sunday's game against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways.
Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and move on to next weekend's European Champions Cup final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles after a dramatic extra time win over a valiant Connacht side.