Japan Puts Up Brave Fight but England Runs Away with Game in Second Half of Match at Rugby World Cup in France

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan captain Kazuki Himeno, second right, leads his team’s handshake line after being defeated by England at the Rugby World Cup in Nice, France, on Sunday.

NICE, France — Japan’s national team fought bravely against England but ended up losing 34-12 to the powerhouse side during the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

This was the Brave Blossoms’ second Pool D match of the tournament being held in France and they played sixth-ranked England closely during the first half, which ended with the score at 13-9.

Ranked 14th in the world, Japan kept up the pressure to start the second half, with Rikiya Matsuda making his fourth successful penalty kick to get the score to 13-12 in the 54th minute at Stade de Nice.

The Brave Blossoms faded, however, as England showed its might with three second-half tries, starting from the 56th minute.

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph said he was proud of his team for playing well against England, the 2003 RWC champion.

At 1-1, Japan remains with five points in Pool D. To have a chance to advance to the quarterfinals for the second tournament in a row, Japan cannot afford to lose either of its remaining pool matches against Samoa on Sept. 28 in Toulouse and Argentina on Oct. 8 in Nantes.

“Honestly speaking, it’s very disappointing,” said Japan number eight and captain Kazuki Himeno, who made his 2023 RWC debut during this match. “But there is no time to feel down, we just have to prepare to do our best.”