Japan was the surprise package of Rugby World Cup 2019. In their own backyard, in front of captivated home support, they amazed rugby fans worldwide with a fast-paced attacking game that produced two landmark victories over Ireland and Scotland, as well as an historic qualification for the quarter-finals of the tournament. For the first time in history, an Asian team reached the knockout stages of a Rugby World Cup.
A breath of fresh air blew over the world of rugby with Japan, who had already produced a massive performance in 2015 by beating two-time world champions South Africa 34-32 in a match that will live long in rugby folklore as the "Miracle of Brighton". Four years later, the Brave Blossoms showed this feat was no one-off by beating Ireland and Scotland. In iconic captain Michael Leitch, the powerful Kazuki Himeno, and the skillful duo Kotaro Matsushima and Kenki Fukuoka who scored nine tries between them at RWC 2019, Japan’s emerging world stars cemented their status in the test rugby arena.
The question is whether Japan can repeat these sensational performances during Rugby World Cup 2023 in a pool containing 2019 finalists England and the ever-dangerous Argentina?