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Winner of the Week – 4 October 2015: Japanese Rugby

Japan 19 Sep 2015

Japan celebrating after their win against South Africa 19 September 2015 (Source: AP via bbc.co.uk)

The Japanese rugby team have been stunning everyone with their impressive performances at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom.

As a Kiwi, I should be writing about our team, the All Blacks. They’ve won all three of their matches so far and are still the favourites to win the tournament. In fact, I still think they will win overall and that’s not just because I’m a one-eyed New Zealander. However, their performances so far, despite some individuals doing well, have been decidedly uninspiring.

The Brave Blossoms on the other hand, have been fantastic. They wowed everybody two weeks ago when they beat the Springboks (South Africa) 34-32 despite being 40-1 outsiders to win the match. The coach, Australian Eddie Jones, had tears running down his cheeks as New Zealand-born Karne Hesketh’s try in the 84th minute secured the game for Japan. It was a strong team performance, with the Japanese never giving up, and their determination was rewarded.

Japan’s supporters in the crowd were both stunned and excited. It was a special moment for my family as well – I have a Japanese sister-in-law and I’m the aunt to three wonderful half-Japanese/half-Kiwi kids. Winter and the rugby season have just finished here in the southern hemisphere and one of them has just won the end of season award for most improved player for his rugby team. I’m very proud of him! So naturally, as a family we support Japan along with New Zealand when it comes to rugby.

Pool B 4-Oct-2015

Pool B Results at 4 October 2015. Japan have yet to play the USA. (Source: www.rugbyworldcup.com)

Today the news for Japanese rugby got even better. In a dominant performance, proving they’re no one-hit wonder, the Brave Blossoms beat Manu Samoa overnight 26-5. Samoa are no easy-beats – they’re are strong team and Japan’s victory over them is impressive.

In between, the South Africa and Samoa matches, Japan lost to Scotland 45-10.

Their highest points scorer is fullback Ayumu Goromaru, who’s scored 45 (ten penalties and five conversions) of Japan’s 70 points. The team has scored six tries and has an impressive discipline record too – they’ve only had one yellow card and no red cards.

The last time Japan won a match at the Rugby World Cup was 1991. (Three of their current players weren’t even born then!) But they have been working hard to improve themselves over the years, and now they’re impressing everybody. Their next match is against the USA on 11 October, and it’s not just for sentimental and family reasons I’m picking Japan to win. They look to be the better team and I can’t wait to see the game. There’s even an outside chance Japan even could make it so the quarter-finals. That would be so cool!

11 Responses to “Winner of the Week – 4 October 2015: Japanese Rugby”

  1. Diane G. says:

    Gotta love that name, “Brave Blossoms.” 😀

    • Yeah! They used to be the “Cherry Blossoms,” but changed it when they realized how that was perceived in other cultures. They have a cherry blossom on their uniforms, which is, of course, a national symbol.

  2. AU says:

    I love football and cricket, but I absolutely hate Rugby, especially Union, as it is more of an elitist sport – at least League is enjoyed by the working class. I think the thing I hate most about Rugby is the smugness of many Rugby fans that Rugby is a “man’s sport” and football is for pansies!

    I’m so glad we’re out, hopefully most of the nation can now not be distracted by it and concentrate on the football again!

    • I know rugby has the reputation of being an elitist sport in England and Scotland, and maybe other places, but not New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and many others. The reason League became more working class than Union here was simply because it went professional much earlier so those who needed the money were more likely to play it. Especially when I was younger, you could guarantee at least one really vicious brawl would break out at a League match even at the upper levels.

      If anything is elitist is cricket, but I love that too.

      The reason I don’t enjoy soccer so much is that it’s low scoring which I find a bit boring, and being the best team doesn’t count that much towards whether you actually win. The bad soccer fans have spoiled it too.

      I feel a bit sorry for English rugby – here was their chance to showcase their game to soccer aficionados, and they got stuck in the Pool of Death and, well, died.

      • AU says:

        I agree cricket can be elitist, byt the truth is, cricket doesn’t have much of a following, and so cricket fans tend to be very welcoming towards other fans.

        You mean you don’t like a 0-0? 😀 … strangely, that’s what makes football so exciting to me, it isn’t high scoring. I am not saying I like a 0-0, but when there are too many goals in a game, I don’t like it either. Too much of anything (apart from making love) isn’t a good thing, right? 🙂

        The last Rugby game I saw was in 2003 when we beat the Aussies in the final in their back yard – I’m so glad they got revenge, now all the smug Rugby fans can shut up! I also dislike the All Blacks because they seem to be the best and beat everyone, I vaguely remember when I was at school and there was that Jonah Lomu (sp) guy and I think he was like the Maradona of rugby, and I prefer the underdogs, so I am hoping the Aussies give you a hammering in the final, which is actually quite funny because usually I want the Aussies to lose in sports (Apart from Lleyton Hewitt who I like)!

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