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Brilliant Japan beat Scotland to reach World Cup quarters for first time

Video Credit: Reuters - Sports - Duration: 04:11s - Published
Brilliant Japan beat Scotland to reach World Cup quarters for first time
Japan go through to meet South Africa in the last eight
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SHOWS: YOKOHAMA, JAPAN (OCTOBER 13, 2019) ( IMG/RWCL - Broadcast: 90 (NINETY SECONDS) USE ONLY.

NO USE BEYOND 2359GMT NOVEMBER 3, 2019.

FOR NEWS PURPOSES ONLY.

DIGITAL: NO TIME LIMITATION.

NO USE BEYOND 2359GMT NOVEMBER 3, 2019.

FOR NEWS PURPOSES ONLY) 1.

JAPAN COACH JAMIE JOSEPH AND CAPTAIN MICHAEL LEITCH AT PRESS CONFERENCE 2.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMIE JOSEPH SAYING: "Whilst we're celebrating about our victory there are a lot of people who are really suffering, and that really helped our players today.

I thought the Scottish team were unbelievable in all parts of the game.

They took it to us right from the start and they scored physically.

In some parts of the game they outplayed us and outmatched us but it's the tenacity I guess, of our team at crucial parts of the test that paid dividends for us." 3.

JOSEPH AND LEITCH 4.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMIE JOSEPH SAYING: "I guess with persistence and the confidence to continue and trust the plan is what saw us through, and the players need to take that credit.

Through trusting each other and trusting what we've trained and planned, all that sort of stuff, and I think that was the difference in the end." 5.

JOSEPH AND LEITCH 6.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL LEITCH SAYING: "This is great for Japanese rugby, not just Japanese rugby, rugby in Asia, tier two rugby.

"For us to qualify, firstly qualify for the quarter-finals, and now we're shifting the goalposts.

I'm not too sure who we've got next but we'll start next week and go from there.

"The key to our victory is our preparation, being alone from the start of the week, same consistent messages, so we'll continue doing that.

We're not coming out next week to have a good game and lose, we're coming out to win." 7.

SCOTLAND COACH GREGOR TOWNSEND AND CAPTAIN GREIG LAIDLAW AT PRESS CONFERENCE 8.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GREGOR TOWNSEND SAYING: "We came here with high aspirations and getting out of the pool stage was stage one of that.

We've worked really hard over the last four months and throughout this tournament to go further than we did tonight, so it's obviously very disappointing to not make it out of the pool." 9.

TOWNSEND AND LAIDLAW 10.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GREGOR TOWNSEND SAYING: "There's a lot more in this team, experiences are what make you as a group and how you react to those experiences.

"That was a unique situation we were in tonight, we knew it was always going to be a challenge given the way Japan were playing, given our turnaround, but we had the team, we had the ability and the start at that game to go on and win it by the necessary amount of points.

That we didn't is hugely disappointing and we'll have to learn from that.

"You don't get another shot in the World Cup for four years but we've got to improve in our next tournament which will be the Six Nations in a few months time." 11.

TOWNSEND AND LAIDLAW 12.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GREIG LAIDLAW SAYING: "We knew Japan have really improved as a team since four years ago, since 2016 as well since we came here on tour.

So first and foremost we have to give Japan credit, the way they've progressed and the way they've performed this evening.

"But as always in defeat we need to look at ourselves first, as Gregor mentioned we gave away two really soft tries, we would think they were soft from our team.

And in a test match, certainly one you need to win by eight points, giving away 28 is way too many." 13.

END OF PRESS CONFERENCE STORY: Japan produced a scintillating display of attacking rugby then withheld a spirited Scotland fightback to triumph 28-21 on a memorable night in Yokohama and reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals for the first time on Sunday (October 13).

Wing Kenki Fukuoka led the way with two tries, while Kotaro Matsushima and Keita Inagaki also scored as the hosts held off a fierce second-half assault from a team they had lost against in all seven of their previous meetings.

When Japan beat South Africa four years ago - having won only one of their previous 24 World Cup matches - it was considered the greatest shock in rugby history.

This time, having already beaten Ireland three weeks ago, it did not even feel like a real surprise.

They were faster, sharper, more inventive and, roared on by the vast majority of the delirious red-and-white-clad crowd, absolutely relentless in everything they did as they became the first tier-two team to reach the last eight since Fiji in 2007.

Having won all four of their matches to top Pool A with 19 points, they will face the Springboks again in the quarter-finals and the twice-champions will be taking absolutely nothing for granted.

The result also meant that Ireland, through as runners-up on 16 points, will play New Zealand.

The match was given the go-ahead only on Sunday morning after an inspection of the damage caused by Typhoon Hagibis and proved a wonderfully uplifting occasion for the country after the death and destruction wrought by the storm.

"Whilst we're celebrating about our victory there are a lot of people who are really suffering," Joseph said.

Captain Michael Leitch said that the victory owed more to heart than skill and while that might be true of their mighty defensive effort in the final quarter, no team in the tournament so far has come close to matching the pace and directness of Japan's first-half assault.

Scotland were first on the board with a Finn Russell try after seven minutes but Japan hit back with a brilliantly-worked, high-tempo score that set the tone for the night as Fukuoka tore clear and slung a one-armed pass into the arms of the supporting Matsushima to detonate an explosion of noise.

If that was good, their next score was a contender for try of the tournament.

Fukuoka and Matsushima again put on the afterburners and then a mesmerizing series of off-loads and side-steps ended with Shota Horie presenting supporting prop Inagaki with an unmissable opportunity.

Japan were playing with a speed and intensity that the Scots just could not live with and got a third try at the end of the half when Tim Lafaele slipped through a deft grubber that bounced perfectly into the arms of Fukuoka.

It was then bedlam two minutes into the second half when Fukuoka stripped Chris Harris and galloped clear for a fourth and bonus-point clinching try.

The Scots, who came from 31-0 down to draw 38-38 with England in the Six Nations in March, channelled that Twickenham spirit as WP Nel and Zander Fagerson scored to get back within seven points with 25 minutes to go but with the bonus-point situation, they still needed more than two converted tries to advance.

It was relentless Scottish pressure and desperate, at times demented, Japanese defending from then on, but the hosts held out for another famous victory in what became a deafening cauldron of noise.

It was only the second time Scotland have failed to reach the last eight - the other coming in 2011 - but they can have few complaints, bookending wins over Russia and Samoa with defeats by Ireland and the hosts.

(Production: Andy Ragg)




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