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.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees led Gloucester Rugby to European glory on Friday evening, scoring the crucial try on a memorable night for the Cherry and Whites. After the game, he paid tribute to his team's performance under pressure in the latter stages as they withstood a ferocious late Edinburgh fightback.
Speaking to GRTV, James Hook admitted that, after a superb opening, Gloucester really had to pass a test of character to hold off Edinburgh and lift the European Rugby Challenge Cup. He paid tribute to his team mates for all their hard work on what was a great day for the club.
Speaking to the assembled media this week, Gloucester Rugby club captain Billy Twelvetrees explains that the squad are ready for the final and that it will be an honour to lead the Cherry and Whites out in the Challenge Cup final.
Gloucester Rugby scrum half Greig Laidlaw will line up against former team mates Edinburgh Rugby on Friday evening, but the focus is firmly on his own roles as the Cherry and Whites gear up for the EPCR Challenge Cup final at The Stoop.
Speaking to the media ahead of Friday evening's European Rugby Challenge Cup Final against Edinburgh, Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressed that his improving Gloucester team will need to perform at their best to prevail against a tough Edinburgh side.
Dan Robson, a second half try scorer in the 42-40 win over Newcastle on Saturday, admitted that Gloucester had started slowly but that the second half comeback showed real character and maintains momentum going into Friday's European final.
Gareth Evans was a first half replacement for the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, but the back rower's impressive carrying kept the hosts on the front foot when they needed it most to snatch a dramatic comeback win.
After his last ditch try clinched the 42-40 Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle at Kingsholm on Saturday, Billy Burns told GRTV that all the Gloucester team deserve credit for hanging in there against a Falcons team who really made life tough for the Cherry and Whites.
Argentine Mariano Galarza was a key part of the Cherry and White squad that tasted silverware on Friday night as they lifted the EPCR Challenge Cup at The Stoop, a special night that will live long in the memory of the second row.
Figures released by EPCR following Gloucester winning the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Friday evening show that, unsurprisingly, a number of those wearing Cherry and White showed up well in the various statistical categories.