JOSEPH LITTAUA WRITES — Asian international locations have by no means been thought of powerhouses on the planet of rugby. Of those who participated within the Rugby World Cup circuit, solely Japan made it to the event—because the host nation. So, when the swimming pools have been drawn and the preliminary qualifying tournaments completed, few anticipated to see Japan come out forward, particularly in a gaggle that was imagined to be dominated by Scotland and Eire, and by which Samoa was anticipated to have no less than an honest exhibiting. All consultants had Japan pinned third at greatest within the group.
Japan’s first match in Group A was towards Russia, a comparatively weak entry within the rugby world. Russia had certified for the RWC after Spain, Belgium and Romania have been sanctioned for fielding ineligible gamers. Their earlier assembly in Gloucester, England was solely a slim defeat of 32-27. This time, nonetheless, Russia couldn’t maintain again Japan and the Courageous Blossoms completed with a robust 30-10 rating line.
Japan’s second match was really a shocker, particularly for many who had watched Group A. Eire was ranked 2 within the standings, posing a problem to top-notch nations like South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand. Sure, the Japanese crew was on the rise, however nobody anticipated Japan to win over Eire. In truth, consultants predicted the chance of Japan beating Eire at about 10%, and with a predicted rating of +20 factors in favor of Eire. It was an in depth match, however in the long run, a robust defensive exhibiting by Japan was sufficient, and the ultimate rating was 19-12.
Japan’s third match towards Samoa confirmed much more prowess on the a part of the Japanese gamers. The Japanese cruised to a comparatively fast lead early and by no means let go, even scoring as soon as extra through the additional time portion of the match, for a last rating of 38-19.
In Japan’s final pool match towards Scotland, Kenki Fukuoka, who joined the roster on the final world cup, really rose to the event. The speedy Japanese wing participant was capable of slice via the Scottish line for two tries, and was important for his or her first strive of the match. Regardless of Scotland’s efforts to combat off the artful Japanese offense, the crew was unable to blow the Courageous Blossoms away. The ultimate rating of 28-21 meant that Japan had made historical past on the RWC.
Sadly, regardless of an ideal group stage file, plainly all good issues come to an finish. Japan misplaced within the Quarterfinals to South Africa with a rating of 3-26. However this run was historic and monumental for a nation that wanted a elevate after a large storm like Hurricane Hagibis. Now the crew has begun to concentrate on its subsequent massive event, Tokyo Summer time Olympics 2020. Win or lose subsequent time, the Courageous Blossoms have lived as much as their identify.