Japan Clinches 1st-Ever Rugby World Cup Quarterfinal Spot

Sports

Yokohama, Oct. 13 (Jiji Press)--They keep going and are now entering uncharted waters. In front of tens of thousands of excited fans and supporters, the Brave Blossoms scored a stunning victory over Scotland on Sunday, which gave them the first-ever quarterfinal berth in the Rugby World Cup.

In their final Pool A match, held at International Stadium Yokohama in the city of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, hosts Japan held off Scotland 28-21, completing a sweep in the round-robin group stage.

Japan scored four tries, against three by Scotland. After ending the first half 21-7, the Brave Blossoms faced strong pressure from Scotland in the second half, but narrowly outran the rugby powerhouse. Of the four Japanese tries, two were scored by wing Kenki Fukuoka, and one each by prop Keita Inagaki and full back Kotaro Matsushima.

The match was "more than just a game for us," Michael Leitch, captain of Japan, said in an interview after the crucial match. "Tonight was nothing about skill but was all about emotion and physicality, and I think we showed that today," he said. Leitch said he is "incredibly proud" of the team.

"Our goal was to win Scotland and make our history," Fukuoka said. "Now I feel great as we accomplished it," he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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