Japan beat Scotland 28-21 on Oct. 13 to claim a place in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals for the first time ever, winning Pool A with a perfect record of four wins from four matches.
The evening game at International Stadium Yokohama might not have been played at all due to uncertainty over the impact of Typhoon Hagibis, but it was given the green light at 10:30 a.m.
Scotland took an early lead before tries from Kotaro Matsushima, Keita Inagaki and Kenki Fukuoka sent Japan into halftime with a commanding lead.
Fukuoka then scored Japan’s fourth try shortly after the restart to secure his team a bonus point, before Scotland came roaring back with scores from W.P. Nel and Zander Fagerson to set up a tense final quarter in front of 67,666 fans.
But the Brave Blossoms stood firm in the face of a fierce late Scottish onslaught and saw out the win, setting up a historic last-eight matchup with South Africa in Tokyo on Oct. 20.
“This is great for Japanese rugby,” captain Michael Leitch said. “Not just Japanese rugby but rugby in Asia and Tier 2 rugby.” Second-tier nations traditionally are not taken seriously at World Cups.
“The key to our victory is preparation. It’s been that way from the start of the week. We’re not coming out (on Oct. 20) to have a good game and lose. We’re coming out to win.” (The Japan Times)