Host Japan wants to “make history” at Ruby World Cup

Host Japan wants to

17 October 2019, 10:45 am.

Tokyo (DPA) Japan’s rugby selection is creating much excitement in the land of the cherry blossoms with its first entry in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Now many are expecting another strong performance against South Africa.

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Since the sensational early-round victory of “Brave Blossom” (Brave Cherry Blossom) against two established European giants, they have had to stand with such jokes on the Internet. Host Japan is teaching the rugby world to fear at the World Cup.

On the net now they are talking about “Brighton 2.0”. Japan’s surprise victory march in the land of cherry blossoms sparks hope that another miracle will succeed in the quarter-finals against fellow favorites South Africa on Sunday (12.15 pm). Like the “Miracle of Brighton”, when underdog Japan won the 2015 World Cup in a 34:32 win against the two-time world champions, creating the biggest sensation in international rugby history.

With their victory over Scotland, which was decisive for their entry into the knockout rounds, the East Asians won over new fans. New Zealand’s “All Blacks” coach Steve Hansen, who is hugely popular in Japan, was so impressed by Japan’s spectacular entry into the quarter-finals that he is delighted that thanks to a draw, their champions will only meet the hosts in the final on November 2. . For Hansen, Japan is no longer a second-tier team. “Now you’re in the top eight in the world and you play quality rugby,” said the coach on whether Japan is now part of the rugby elite.

“From now on we have nothing more to lose,” said Japan’s chief technology officer Yuichiro Fujii. After reaching the quarter-finals, the public pressure was over. Now you will put yourself under pressure – and then you will put pressure on South Africa, hence Fuji.

The victory over Scotland gave television stations in the area of ​​the capital Tokyo viewing figures of up to 53.7 percent at times. “Brave Blossom” is now thrilling the public – and providing encouraging news at a time when the country has been battered by one of the most violent storms in decades, with dozens of deaths. The team also dedicated the historic success on Scots to the victims of the devastating natural disaster. “We are grateful for the opportunity to inspire Japan,” said captain Michael Leach.

The enthusiasm for “Brave Blossom” is also notable because the history of the national team was shaped by foreigners. For example, team captain Leach was born in New Zealand, just like head coach Jamie Joseph, who played for the “All Blacks” and later for Japan. The country’s right-wing conservative government is struggling to open homogeneous Japan to immigrants. However, his enthusiasm for the rugby team shows that it is no longer a taboo for the younger generation.

It remains to be seen whether the surge of new spark in his own country will continue after the World Cup. Now the first thing to do is to prepare for South Africa. “We start from scratch and build every day,” Leach said. But shortly before the start of the World Cup, the Japanese “Springboxes” lost in 7:41.

But now the starting position looks different. “Now that we’re used to the pressure and better concentration,” Leach explained, “we strive for higher goals.” We want to write history.”


Rugby players from Japan train for the quarter-finals against South Africa in Tokyo.

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