Japan Succumbs to Rugby World Cup

The decision to take the Rugby World Cup to Japan looks a lot smarter today than it did a week ago when fury over cancelled games and thwarted dreams was the narrative.

Today it is more about the surge of interest that the success of the Japanese team has created.

In a country of 100 million, there have been fewer than 100,000 players, 0.1 per cent of the population.

There was talk in advance of the challenge of getting the country excited and of difficulty in finding places to watch the games.

On Sunday morning though the Japan national team, known as the Brave Blossoms, beat Scotland to top the Group unbeaten, with wins over two Six Nations giants in their rear view mirror.

Better still, the country has taken them to heart.

Figures released yesterday showed that 53.7 per cent of households in the Greater Tokyo Area had tuned in to watch the game, a new record for a sporting event this year.

The win sets up a Quarter Final clash with South Africa, who Japan beat in the last Rugby World Cup.

Argentina were the breakthrough team of 2015, at Ireland’s expense. Paddy Power have Japan as the least likely outsider to progress at the weekend with a handicap of 15 points. Ireland are next with an imagined 12 point deficit to overcome, followed by Australia with 8 points and France with seven.

Image Credit: Inpho.ie

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