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RWC tournaments

Nine(all)

Best result

Quarter-finals

Captain

Michael Leitch

Coach

Jamie Joseph

Most tries

Kotaro Matsushima(6)

Most points

Ayumu Goromaru(58)

There is a lot to love about the story of Japanese rugby. Their rise as a force in rugby culminated in Rugby World Cup 2019 when they progressed to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. They are also responsible for one of the most iconic scenes in RWC when they upset South Africa in RWC 2015. The modern Japanese rugby team looks clinical across the park, with speed at the breakdown and quick shifts to the backline. They’re an attractive team to watch play rugby, with many rugby fans holding a soft spot for the Japanese side.

Key Player: Kazuki Himeno

Himeno is one of the strong ball-runners in the Japanese side. He’s active across the pitch and an integral part of Japan’s attack and defence. He had a strong campaign at RWC 2019 and will want to provide more of the same to help Japan go one better and make the semi-finals.

X-factor: Kotaro Matsushima

Matsushima is the journeyman of Japanese rugby. He’s played for franchises in Australia, South Africa and France. His ability as a finisher is proven at Rugby World Cup, as he’s Japan’s most prolific try-scorer. Expect Japan to run a lot of ball down his wing.

Why they can win

Coming off their best result when hosting RWC 2019, the Japanese side have proven they are capable of creating surprising upsets.

Japan's RWC 2023 Pool Matches

Japan's RWC 2023 Pool Matches

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