TOKYO (AP) — Emergency crews had been on excessive alert. Flights and trains had been cancelled. Rugby stars right here for the World Cup principally heeded the identical security warnings as everybody else as Japan braced to be hit by a hurricane tipped to be its worst in six many years.
Tokyo Disneyland was shut. Retailers had been closed, cabinets empty in some locations as folks stockpiled provisions. Pictures of large waves pounding into Japan’s fundamental island had been everywhere in the media. Two Rugby World Cup video games scheduled for Saturday had already been canceled.
“Self-discipline is essential when the sport will get tight,” Leitch was quoted as saying by the nationwide information company.
They’ve actually been disciplined. Japan received three video games on the 2015 Rugby World Cup, together with the epic upset of two-time champion South Africa, however nonetheless missed out on the quarterfinals. Regardless of the against-the-odds nature of that marketing campaign, lacking out on the knockout stage deeply harm the gamers. Finally, it was a loss to Scotland that price them.
4 years later, Japan has once more received three video games — together with an upset of an Irish group that was ranked No. 1 earlier than the match — and is a scorching probability to turn into the primary Asian group to qualify for the knockout stage of rugby’s marquee match. It simply occurs to be being staged for the primary time in Asia, albeit on the finish of hurricane season.
Head coach Jamie Joseph identified on Friday, when he was riled by experiences that Japan would get a straightforward experience to the knockouts if Sunday’s recreation was cancelled and each groups had been awarded two competitors factors, that his squad was simply as determined as Scotland to play. The hurricane is not disrupted the entire nation, with video games and coaching classes anticipated to go forward as deliberate to the north and south of central Japan, nevertheless it was impacting life across the capital.
In the one one in all Saturday’s three scheduled video games that wasn’t cancelled, Eire beat Samoa 47-5 at Fukuoka to safe one of many quarterfinal spots from Pool A. Which means Scotland must beat Japan to advance.
The Japanese squad has been in camp for 240 days this 12 months, Joseph famous, totally dedicated to the World Cup trigger and making loads of private sacrifices for it. They need this.
Japan hasn’t overwhelmed Scotland in seven earlier assessments, and has conceded 17 tries whereas scoring simply three in opposition to the Scots in three earlier World Cup encounters. However these aren’t stats that hassle Joseph, contemplating among the upsets Japan has prompted.
The squad that some critics thought to be an meeting of rugby expats has actually received the help of the host nation, in all probability as a result of perseverance is a main trait.
Joseph is a former New Zealand ahead who performed in opposition to Japan on the 1995 World Cup, after which switched to play for Japan in ’99. And now he is coach.
Leitch was born in New Zealand, has Fijian heritage, however moved to Japan at age 15 and is taking part in in his third World Cup, his second as captain. He is teak robust, and a frontrunner who exemplifies the team-first angle. Gamers like halves companions Yutaka Nagare and Yu Tamura and winger Kenki Fukuoka have highlighted the growing depth of the homegrown expertise pool.
The Scots initially threatened authorized motion if the final of the pool video games was canceled as a substitute of moved or performed in an empty stadium, however Joseph mentioned his group needed to play to complete off an ideal pool stage and show past any doubt that they belong among the many eight most elite groups.
Prop Keita Inagaki was within the Japan squad that misplaced to Scotland 4 years in the past in England, and he carries that as motivation.
“I’ve by no means forgotten that feeling of defeat,” Keita was quoted as saying by Kyodo. “We performed two assessments in opposition to them a 12 months later and I nonetheless bear in mind the ache from these, too.”
Inagaki and Leitch are two of the seven gamers who began in opposition to Scotland in ’15 and had been included within the beginning XV once more for Sunday.
No person will query the dedication of this group, significantly after its captain’s run when the hurricane was closing in from the Pacific.
World Rugby will assess circumstances Sunday morning earlier than confirming which of the final 4 group video games will go forward.
Copyright 2019 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.