Host Japan Beats Russia 30-10 as Rugby World Cup Opens


Tokyo, Sept. 20 (Jiji Press)--Cheers and excitement echoed through a packed stadium in a Tokyo suburb where Japan made a spectacular start in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with a 30-10 victory over Russia, on Friday night.

Japan, hosting the quadrennial rugby competition for the first time and led by head coach Jamie Joseph, aims to reach the last eight in the tournament, which kicked off the same day. Japan has never secured a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal spot.

With the win over Russia in the Pool A match in the group stage, held at Tokyo Stadium in Chofu, Japan earned 5 points including one bonus point.

After ending the first half with a 12-7 lead, with Kotaro Matsushima from Suntory Sungoliath scoring two tries, Japan scored more to expand its lead in the second half. Japan had a total of four tries in the game--three by Matsushima and one by Pieter Labuschagne of Kubota Spears. Japan ranks 10th in the world, and Russia 20th.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who watched the match live at the stadium, praised the Japanese national team, saying on Twitter: "A great victory. Congratulations!"

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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