Japan at the Rugby World Cup

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Japan playing Australia at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Map of nations best results, excluding nations which unsuccessfully participated in qualifying tournaments

The Japan national team have competed in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987. They are so far the only team to reach the Rugby World Cup through Asian regional qualifying. They have yet to progress past the pool stage of the tournament.

Their best performance was in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Japan beat South Africa 34–32 in their first match of pool play, in what was described as the "greatest Rugby World Cup shock ever".[1][2][3] They went on to beat Samoa and the United States in pool play. They won three games out of four in pool play, the same as Scotland and South Africa, but unlike the other two, Japan did not get any bonus points, so the other two qualified for the quarter-finals.

Japan's first victory was a 52–8 win over Zimbabwe at the 1991 tournament under coach Hiroaki Shukuzawa. Their worst defeat came at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, when they lost to New Zealand by 145–17, in a defeat blamed for setting the development of rugby union in Japan back by several years. Since then, in the 2003 World Cup, held in Australia, Japan coached by Shogo Mukai was hailed as the best of the so-called 'minnow' nations,[citation needed] gaining many new Japanese and overseas fans in the process, though the team still failed to win any games. In the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Japan managed a last-minute conversion to draw with Canada, and avoided coming last in Pool B. They did not win any games however, and did not reach the knockout stage of the tournament.

Japan will host the tournament for the first time at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

By position[edit]

Year Round Position Played Won Drew Lost For Against
AustraliaNew Zealand 1987 Pool 3 3 48 123
EnglandScotlandRepublic of IrelandWalesFrance
1991
Pool 3 1 2 77 87
South Africa 1995 Pool 3 3 55 252
Wales 1999 Pool 3 3 36 140
Australia 2003 Pool 4 4 79 163
France 2007 Pool 4 1 3 64 210
New Zealand 2011 Pool 4 1 3 69 184
England 2015 Pool 4 3 1 98 100
Japan 2019
Total 28 4 2 22 526 1259

By match[edit]

1987[edit]

Main article: 1987 Rugby World Cup
Team P W D L PF PA Pts
 Australia 3 3 0 0 108 41 6
 England 3 2 0 1 100 32 4
 United States 3 1 0 2 39 99 2
 Japan 3 0 0 3 48 123 0
1987-05-24
Japan  18 – 21  United States
Tries: Taumoefolau (2)
Yoshinaga
Pen: Yoshinaga
Kutsuki
Tries: Nelson
Purcell
Lambert
Con: Nelson (3)
Pen: Nelson
Ballymore, Brisbane
Referee: Guy Maurette (France)

1987-05-30
England  60 – 7  Japan
Tries: Harrison (3)
Underwood (2)
Salmon
Richards
Redman
Rees
Simms
Con: Webb (7)
Pen: Webb (2)
Try: Miyamoto
Pen: Matsuo
Concord Oval, Sydney
Referee: Rene Hourquet (France)

1987-06-03
Australia  42 – 23  Japan
Tries: Slack (2)
Burke (2)
Tuynman
Grigg
Hartill
Campese
Con: Lynagh (5)
Tries: Kutsuki (2)
Fujita
Con: Okidoi
Pen: Okidoi (2)
Drop: Okidoi
Concord Oval, Sydney
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland)

1991[edit]

Main article: 1991 Rugby World Cup
Team Won Drawn Lost For Against Points
 Scotland 3 0 0 122 36 9
 Ireland 2 0 1 102 51 7
 Japan 1 0 2 77 87 5
 Zimbabwe 0 0 3 31 158 3
1991-10-05
Scotland  47 – 9  Japan
Tries: S. Hastings, Stanger, Chalmers, White, Penalty Try, Tukalo, G. Hastings
Con: G. Hastings (5)
Pen: G. Hastings (2), Chalmers
Tries: Hosokawa
Con: Hosokawa
Drop: Hosokawa
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)

1991-10-09
Ireland  32 – 16  Japan
Tries: Mannion (2), O’Hara, Staples
Con: Keyes (2)
Pen: Keyes (4)
Tries: Hayashi, Kajihara, Yoshida
Con: Hosokawa (2)
Landsdowne Road, Dublin
Referee: Laikini Colati (Fiji)

1991-10-14
Japan  52 – 8  Zimbabwe
Tries: Yoshida (2), Mashuho (2), Kutsuki (2), Horikoshi, Luaiufi, Matsuo
Con: Hosokawa (2)
Pen: Hosokawa (4)
Tries: Tsimba, Nguruve
Ravenhill, Belfast
Referee: Rene Hourquet (France)

1995[edit]

Main article: 1995 Rugby World Cup
Team Won Drawn Lost For Against Points
 New Zealand 3 0 0 225 45 9
 Ireland 2 0 1 93 94 7
 Wales 1 0 2 89 68 5
 Japan 0 0 3 55 252 3
1995-05-27
Japan  10 – 57  Wales
Tries: Osamu Ota (2) Tries: Gareth Thomas (3), Ieuan Evans (2), Andrew Moore, Hemi Taylor
Con: Neil Jenkins (5)
Pen: Neil Jenkins (4)
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 12 000
Referee: Efrahim Sklar (Argentina)


1995-06-04
Japan  17 – 145  New Zealand
Tries: Hiroyuki Kajihara (2)
Con: Keiji Hirose (2)
Pen: Keiji Hirose
Tries: Marc Ellis (6), Eric Rush (3), Jeff Wilson (3), Robin Brooke (2), Glen Osborne (2), Richard Loe, Simon Culhane, Paul Henderson, Craig Dowd, Alama Ieremia
Con: Simon Culhane (20)
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 17 000
Referee: George Gadjovic (Canada)

1999[edit]

Main article: 1999 Rugby World Cup
Team Won Drawn Lost For Against Points
 Wales 2 0 1 118 71 4
 Samoa 2 0 1 97 72 4
 Argentina 2 0 1 83 51 4
 Japan 0 0 3 36 140 0
1999-10-03
Samoa  43 – 9  Japan
Tries: Brian Lima (2), Steven So'oialo (2), Silao Leaegailesolo
Con: Silao Leaegailesolo (3)
Pen: Silao Leaegailesolo (4)
Pen: Keiji Hirose (3)
Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Referee: Andrew Cole (Australia)


1999-10-16
Argentina  33 – 12  Japan
Tries: Diego Albanese, Agustín Pichot
Con: Felipe Contepomi
Pen: Gonzalo Quesada (7)
Pen: Keiji Hirose (4)
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

2003[edit]

Main article: 2003 Rugby World Cup
Team Won Drawn Lost For Against BP Points
 France 4 0 0 204 70 4 20
 Scotland 3 0 1 102 97 2 14
 Fiji 2 0 2 98 114 2 10
 United States 1 0 3 86 125 2 6
 Japan 0 0 4 79 163 0 0
2003-10-11
Scotland  32–11  Japan
Tries: Paterson (2), Grimes, Taylor, Danielli
Con: Paterson, Townsend
Pen: Paterson
Tries: Onozawa
Pen: Hirose (2)

2003-10-18
France  51 – 29  Japan
Tries: Michalak, Rougerie (2), Pelous, Dominici, Crenca
Con: Michalak (5), Merceron
Pen: Michalak (3)
Tries: Konia, Ohata
Con: Kurihara (2)
Pen: Kurihara (5)
Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
Attendance: 21,309
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

2003-10-23
Fiji  41 – 13  Japan
Tries: Tuilevu (2), Ligairi (2), Vunibaka
Con: Little (2)
Pen: Little (4)
Tries: Miller
Con: Miller
Pen: Miller
Drop: Miller

2003-10-27
Japan  26 – 39  United States
Tries: Kurihara, Ohata
Con: Kurihara (2)
Pen: Kurihara (4)
Tries: Hercus, Eloff, Schubert, van Zyl, Khasigian
Con: Hercus (4)
Pen: Hercus (2)

2007[edit]

Team Pld W D L TF PF PA +/- BP Pts
 Australia 4 4 0 0 30 215 41 +174 4 20
 Fiji 4 3 0 1 14 114 136 −22 3 15
 Wales 4 2 0 2 23 168 105 +63 4 12
 Japan 4 0 1 3 7 64 210 −146 1 3
 Canada 4 0 1 3 6 51 120 −69 0 2
8 September 2007
15:45
Australia  91 – 3  Japan
Tries: Sharpe 18' m
Elsom (3) 24' c, 34' m, 41' c
Ashley-Cooper 46' c
Latham (2) 53' c, 72' c
Barnes (2) 57' c, 75' c
Mitchell (2) 59' c, 66' c
Smith 62' m
Freier 80+' c
Con: Mortlock (7/10)
Giteau (3/3)
Pen: Mortlock (2/2) 10', 16'
Report Pen: K. Ono (1/1) 38'
Stade de Gerland, Lyon
Attendance: 40,043
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

12 September 2007
18:00
Japan  31 – 35  Fiji
Tries: Thompson (2) 51' c, 78' c
Soma 62' m
Con: Onishi (2/3)
Pen: Onishi (4/4) 18', 30', 40+', 43'
Report Tries: Qera (2) 36' c, 49' c
Rabeni 56' m
Leawere 71' c
Con: Little (3/4)
Pen: Little (3/3) 4', 55', 74'

20 September 2007
21:00
Wales  72 – 18  Japan
Tries: A. W. Jones 11' c
Hook 24' c
T. R. Thomas 31' c
Morgan 40+' m
Phillips 42' c
S. Williams (2) 48' m, 80' m
D. James 52' c
Cooper 59' c
M. Williams (2) 64' c, 74' c
Con: S. Jones (5/7)
Sweeney (2/4)
Pen: S. Jones (1/1) 23'
Report Tries: Endo 19' m
Onozawa 57' c
Con: Robins (1/1)
Pen: Onishi (2/2) 4', 37'
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 35,245
Referee: Joël Jutge (France)

25 September 2007
18:00
Canada  12 – 12  Japan
Tries: Riordan 48' m
van der Merwe 65' c
Con: Pritchard (1/1)
Report Tries: Endo 12' m
Taira 80+' c
Con: Onishi (1/2)

2011[edit]

Japan lost to New Zealand, Tonga and France, but managed to draw with Canada.

Team
Pld W D L TF PF PA +/− BP Pts
 New Zealand 4 4 0 0 36 240 49 +191 4 20
 France 4 2 0 2 13 124 96 +28 3 11
 Tonga 4 2 0 2 7 80 98 −18 1 9
 Canada 4 1 1 2 9 82 168 −86 0 6
 Japan 4 0 1 3 8 69 184 −115 0 2
10 September 2011
France  47 – 21  Japan
Tries: Pierre 4' c
Trinh-Duc 11' c
Clerc 33' m
Naller 70' c
Pape 76' c
Parra 81' m
Con: Yachvili (4/6)
Pen: Yachvili (3/3) 21', 28', 66'
Report Tries: Arlidge (2) 30' m, 48' c
Con: Arlidge (1/2)
Pen: Arlidge (3/4) 17', 39', 57'

16 September 2011
New Zealand  83 – 7  Japan
Tries: Smith 3' c
Kahui (2) 15' m, 44' c
Kaino 21' m
Mealamu 29' c
Ellis 33' c
Slade 35' c
Williams (2) 50' c, 78' c
Toeava 55' c
Hore 59' m
Nonu 61' m
Thomson 76' c
Con: Slade (9/13)
Report Tries: Onozawa 57' c
Con: Williams (1/1)

21 September 2011
Tonga  31 – 18  Japan
Tries: Ma'afu 6' m
Lokotui 14' c
Vainikolo 53' c
Con: Morath (2/3)
Pen: Morath (4/4) 29', 31', 49', 67'
Report Tries: Hatakeyama 13' m
Leitch 25' m
Tupuailai 62' m
Con: Arlidge (0/3)
Pen: Webb (1/1) 39'

27 September 2011
Canada  23 – 23  Japan
Tries: Van Der Merwe 6' c
Mackenzie 43' m
Monro 74' m
Con: Pritchard (1/1)
Monro (0/2)
Pen: Monro (2/3) 63', 78'
Report Tries: Horie 9' c
Endo 39' c
Tupuailai 62' m
Con: Arlidge (2/2)
Pen: Arlidge (3/3) 23', 65', 72'

2015[edit]

Team
Pld W D L TF PF PA +/− BP Pts
 South Africa 4 3 0 1 23 176 56 +120 4 16
 Scotland 4 3 0 1 14 136 93 +43 2 14
 Japan 4 3 0 1 9 98 100 –2 0 12
 Samoa 4 1 0 3 7 69 124 –55 2 6
 United States 4 0 0 4 5 50 156 –106 0 0
19 September 2015
16:45
South Africa  32–34  Japan
Try: Louw 18' c
B. Du Plessis 33' m
De Jager 44' c
Strauss 62' c
Con: Lambie (2/3) 19', 45'
Pollard (1/1) 63'
Pen: Lambie (1/1) 57'
Pollard (1/1) 73'
Report Try: Leitch 30' c
Goromaru 69' c
Hesketh 80' m
Con: Goromaru (2/3) 31', 70'
Pen: Goromaru (5/6) 8', 43', 49', 53', 60'
23 September 2015
14:30
Scotland  45–10  Japan
Try: Hardie 48' m
Bennett (2) 56' c, 69 c
Seymour 64' c
Russell 74' c
Con: Laidlaw (4/5) 57', 65', 70', 75'
Pen: Laidlaw (4/5) 3', 12', 18', 20'
Report Try: Mafi 15' c
Con: Goromaru (1/1) 16'
Pen: Goromaru (1/3) 46'
Kingsholm, Gloucester
Attendance: 14,354
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
3 October 2015
14:30
Samoa  5–26  Japan
Try: Perez 64' m
Con: T. Pisi (0/1)
Report Try: Penalty try 24' c
Yamada 40' c
Con: Goromaru (2/2) 24', 40'
Pen: Goromaru (4/6) 8', 34', 48', 59'
Stadium mk, Milton Keynes
Attendance: 29,019
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
11 October 2015
20:00
United States  18–28  Japan
Try: Ngwenya 24' m
Wyles 71' c
Con: MacGinty (1/2) 72'
Pen: MacGinty (2/2) 5', 55'
Report Try: Matsushima 7' c
Fujita 28' c
Mafi 62' m
Con: Goromaru (2/3) 9', 29'
Pen: Goromaru (3/3) 33', 44', 77'
Kingsholm, Gloucester
Attendance: 14,517
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

Hosting[edit]

At a special IRB meeting held in Dublin on 28 July 2009, Japan was announced as the host for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[4]

List of planned stadia[edit]

In addition to the nine venues located in Japan, one venue each from Singapore and Hong Kong have also been proposed to host five matches respectively.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kitson, Robert (September 19, 2015). "Japan beat South Africa in greatest Rugby World Cup shock ever". The Guardian. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Banzai! Underdogs Japan set Rugby World Cup alight with outstanding last-minute 34-32 victory against South Africa". Daily Mail. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "South Africa 32 Japan 34, match report: Outstanding Japan pull off the greatest upset in World Cup history". Daily Telegraph. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "England will host 2015 World Cup". BBC. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  5. ^ RWC 2015 /2019: 15 Main Topics & Venues of the Bid of Japan , Japan Rugby Football Union