Land of the rising scrum: World Cup fever sweeps Japan
Japan Today -- Oct 20
Long queues for replica shirts, desperate searches for tickets and TV stations showing Japan's wins on a loop: excitement is building ahead of the host nation's historic Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against South Africa.

In baseball-mad Japan, rugby coverage is still secondary to the national passion but a day before kick-off against the Springboks, the oval-ball game was having its moment in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Yomiuri Shimbun educated its millions of readers on scrummaging technique in a piece entitled: "The scrum of Sakura (Cherry Blossoms, the Japan team's original nickname), a precision machine."

The article explained some of the mysteries of the scrum to a public perhaps not au fait with some of the finer points of the set-piece, noting how the forwards adjust their body position by a matter of centimeters to achieve maximum pressure.

Even the financial press have been carrying rugby articles, with the Nikkei business daily drafting in former player Kensuke Iwabuchi to comment on Sunday's match-up -- Japan's World Cup quarterfinal.

Iwabuchi said the key to the match would lie in "discipline and patience" and noted how home advantage was proving to be a critical factor in the Brave Blossoms' winning streak.

"The cheers from the crowd has been a big supporting force. In the match against Scotland, it was as if the 15 were not fighting against 15 but 70,015," he said, adding that tickets had been sold out for almost all matches.

News source: Japan Today
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Long queues for replica shirts, desperate searches for tickets and TV stations showing Japan's wins on a loop: excitement is building ahead of the host nation's historic Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against South Africa. (Japan Today)