Japan’s rugby selection has created a lot of excitement in the land of Cherry Blossom with their entry into the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Now many are expecting another strong performance against South Africa.
What is the scariest Halloween costume in Ireland and Scotland this year? Red and white striped jersey of the Japanese national rugby team.
As the sensational early-round victory of the “Brave Blossoms” (Brave Cherry Blossoms) did against two established European heavyweights, they had to stand up to such mockery on the Internet. The host Japan Rugby at the World Cup teaches fear of the world.
On the net they are now talking about “Brighton 2.0”. From Japan’s surprise victory march to the land of Cherry Blossom, there is hope that another miracle will succeed in the quarter-finals against their favorite South Africa on Sunday (12.15pm). Like the “Miracle of Brighton” when the underdog Japan won 34:32 in the 2015 World Cup against the two-time world champion, which created the biggest sensation in international rugby history.
With their win over Scotland, which was decisive for entry into the knockout round, the East Asian won over new fans. New Zealand’s “All Blacks” coach Steve Henson, who is extremely popular in Japan, was so impressed by Japan’s stunning entry into the quarter-finals that he is happy that the draw will see his champions meet only the hosts in the final on November 2. For Henson, Japan is no longer a second-class team. “You are now in the top eight in the world and you play quality rugby,” the coach said.
“We have nothing more to lose from now on,” said Japan’s Chief Technology Officer Yuichiro Fuji. After reaching the quarter-finals, public pressure was over. Now you will put yourself under pressure – and then put pressure on South Africa, hence Fuji.
The victory over Scotland has at times seen television stations in the region of the capital Tokyo with figures of up to 53.7 per cent. “Brave Blossoms” are now thrilling the public – and providing encouraging news at a time when the country has been suffering since the most violent thunderstorms with dozens of deaths in decades. The team also dedicated historical success on the 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, much like head coach Jamie Joseph, who played for “All Blacks” and later Japan. The country’s right-wing conservative government is struggling to open homogeneous Japan to immigrants. However, the enthusiasm for his rugby team suggests that it is no longer a taboo for the younger generation.
It remains to be seen whether the new spark surge will continue in their country after the World Cup. It is now the first to prepare for South Africans. “We start from scratch and build every day,” Leach said. But shortly before the start of the World Cup, the Japanese lost against “Springboks” 7:41.
But now the starting position seems different. “Now we’re used to creating pressure and better concentration,” said Leach, who strives for higher goals. We want to make history. “ (dpa)
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