The Japan Rugby World Cup team has competed in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987. They are so far the only side to reach the Rugby World Cup through Asian regional qualifying. In 2019, they advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in their participation, making them the first Asian side to do so in the tournament Rugby World Cup.
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Their best performance was in the Rugby World Cup 2015. Japan beat South Africa 34–32 in their first match of pool play, in what was labeled as the greatest Rugby World Cup surprise ever. They went on to beat Samoa and the United States in pool play. They won three games out of four in pool play, the same as Scotland and South Africa, then unlike the other two, Japan did not get any bonus points, so the other two were capable of the quarter-finals.
Japan’s first win was a 52–8 win over Zimbabwe at the 1991 tournament under coach Hiroaki Shukuzawa. Their nastiest defeat came at the Rugby World Cup 1995 when they lost to New Zealand by 145–17, a defeat blamed for setting the development of rugby union in Japan back by several years. Since then, in the World Cup 2003, held in Australia, Japan coached by Shogo Mukai was greeted as the best of the so-called minnow nations, mention needed to gain many new Japanese and overseas followers in the procedure, though the side is still unsuccessful in winning any matches.
Japan Rugby team is the best-attacking team in the world
Ever since their famous victory over South Africa in the World Cup 2015, the Japan national rugby side has been steadily and sensibly growing. Hosting the Rugby World Cup themselves in 2019, the country put on a unique sight for the rugby world while the Brave Blossoms recorded famous wins over Ireland and Scotland, attracting the first Asian nation to reach the quarter-finals.
Then came the beginning of the Japan Rugby League One which kicked off earlier this year. Replacing the former industrial Top League, the new competition is a fully professional three-tier system enticing foreign talent counting All Blacks star Damien Mackenzie and Springbok’s Malcolm Marx, Damien De Allende, and Pieter-Steph du Toit.
With wins over Tier 1 opposition and the founding of professionalized league system, Japan has been on a thrilling development arc over the past era. And at the helm through it all has been one steady and acquainted presence: Michael Leitch. The 77-cap back-row, who made his debut back in 2008, has been the face of the Brave Blossoms as they’ve matured from a lowly Tier Two nation into genuine challengers to the outdated rugby powers. Unstable how the Rugby world views Japanese rugby has been a core motivating influence for the 34-year-old.
“I think the upset word is something we’ve got to change”, Leitch told Sports Gazette.
Leitch said About Rugby World Cup
We are genuine contenders; we belong at the top in the Tier 1 category. We’re going to do some attractive special things in the next twelve months or so. This is the best Japanese side that there’s ever been put together. It’s pretty thrilling what we can do Leitch’s belief and assurance, as he spoke, was eminently tangible. And he has every reason to be so; while Japan come away from this autumn with three losses from three matches against New Zealand, England, and France they were only just beaten by New Zealand before frustrating a France side that is unbeaten in 2022.
“That All Black’s performance goes to show that Japanese rugby is continuing to improve. It’s a game we could have won. We’ve had a few of those this year”, he supposed.
They are attractive much the benchmark of world rugby. Psychologically, they are the side, you know. When you think about the All Blacks, you think about this awesome squad that is undefeatable. But we’re in a genuine position at the moment to beat them. Our trajectory is pretty thrilling at the moment, and it’s only a matter of time before Japan beats the All Blacks. Again, Leitch’s ambition for Japan is obvious. In his mind, the next level of Japanese achievement is almost unavoidable. Worldwide Tickets and Hospitality offers Rugby World Cup tickets for the France Rugby World Cup at the best prices. Rugby fans can buy Rugby World Cup Final Tickets at exclusively discounted prices.
Japan Rugby Team in Rugby World Cup 1995
By registering that trajectory, he speaks of; Leitch will likely be proved right shortly. In the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup 1995, Japan faced New Zealand in their second match of the tournament. In what remnants to this day the highest points total in a World Cup match; they were beaten by 17-145. Fast-forward to October 2022 at Tokyo’s National Stadium, the full-time score line read 31-38 to the All Blacks.
Victory over New Zealand remains intangible, but the development is clear to see. With the All Blacks in somewhat of a slump, by their high values at least, that winning result could come sooner rather than later. If Japan is going to push to the next level and fully adhesive its Tier 1 status, Leitch was obstinate that it will be constructed off their electric attack. Known for their speed and intent with the ball, Leitch believes there’s nobody better. I think Japanese rugby is perhaps the best aggressive side in the world at the moment.
The pace we play at, you can’t compare it with any other country. I think it’s down to our coaches, the way they train us, the physical qualities the Japanese players have, and the League. The way we play in Japan has always been fast, and that’s why we’re one of the fastest spells in the world. One coach Leitch mentions as a significant part of Japan’s progression was former coach Eddie Jones. Perhaps best recalled in Japan as the tactical mastermind overdue that South Africa upset, Leitch, under whom he wore the captain’s armband, considers his influence far deeper.
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I reckon he instilled some belief if you work hard, the Japanese are very talented at winning at the top level. To change that mindset is tossing hard. But saying that this squad is much better than the side from 2015, and the mindset has changed across the board, not just the national side but across the board, from U20s to high school, and all the players playing in the local leagues.
The next task for Japan then is to find constancy. Leitch notes how the Brave Blossoms need to turn good periods and halves into full-game performances. If you look at all our games across the last 18 months, we can get snippets of play. If we can make that 80 minutes, then the best state I reckon we can go even further. When I enquire what he means by further, a glimpse of a smile emerges. I ask him if he’s referring to next year’s Rugby World Cup in France where they will face England, Argentina, Samoa, and Chile in Pool D. I reckon we can go all the way.
There’s no reason why we can’t. If you have the mindset to get to the best state, that’s the behaviour you start training. Occasionally all you need in big games is a bit of belief. I’m not going to say we’re going for best four or best eight, but I think we’ll go all the way and see where it takes us. Joined with his slight grin and a chuckle, how far Leitch’s tongue was in his cheek is hard to tell. Regardless, it’s clear that Leitch sees no reason why Japan rugby cannot or should not be enormously determined about what they can attain.
Japan’s Rugby World Cup Record
Japan has touched the knockout stage of the Rugby World Cup for the first time. This article looks back on the national squad’s previous record in the tournament. After winning all four of its Pool A games, Japan has made it to the quarterfinal stage of the Rugby World Cup for the first time. Here we look back on the country’s best in past tournaments.
Japan’s Rugby World Cup Record
At the first Rugby World Cup in 1987, Japan started with a narrow 21–18 defeat against the United States before misery a 60–7 thrashing against England. A 42–23 loss to Australia rounds off the campaign. While Japan also departed at the pool stage in 1991, defeats against Scotland and Ireland were trailed by a heartening first tournament win, as the Brave Blossoms saw off Zimbabwe 52–8.
Years of Defeats
At the third tournament Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995, Japan underwent another whitewash, losing to Wales, Ireland, and New Zealand. The record-breaking 145–17 defeat to the All Blacks was a chiefly bitter blow. There was no great advance in 1999, as Japan again lost all three of its pool matches. Current coach Jamie Joseph signified Japan in the tournament, having before seemed for New Zealand.
In 2003, Japan lost to Scotland, Fiji, France, and the United States. The 2007 tournament, though, saw a slight upturn in fortunes, as defeats to Australia, Fiji, and Wales were shadowed by a 12–12 draw against Canada. This brought an end to a 13-match run of successive defeats in the rivalry finals. In 2011, Japan started with losses to France, New Zealand, and Tonga. It led at half-time in its final game against Canada but had to relax for another draw, this time 23–23.
South Africa Shock
Japan’s Rugby World Cup record to date gave no hint of what was to come in 2015. Eddie Jones of Australia took charge of the side in 2012, progressively raising its normal. In the first pool game of the tournament in England, Japan won a historic 34–32 win against South Africa, then ranked third in the world. Though a loss against Scotland followed, wins against Samoa and the United States left Japan with three wins and one defeat in the pool. Inappropriately, this was not enough, as Japan fell short in bonus points and failed to progress to the next stage.
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