It was almost a done deal even before kick off.
Japan were dominant throughout the Asian 5 Nations rugby tournament which doubled this year as a qualifying tournament for the Rugby World Cup to be held in England in 2015. Coinciding with the final match of the tournament was the Webb Ellis Trophy tour which has been working it’s way through Tokyo in the last couple of days to be present at the match.
Japan beat Hong Kong 49 – 8 at the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. The National Olympic Stadium is set to go under massive renovation and the Brave Blossoms wanted to send it off in style. They did just that by qualifying for the World Cup in a bonus point victory. Yoshikazu Fujita put in a fantastic performance by scoring a hat trick of tries in the lopsided victory. Michael Leitch, the Blossom’s captain, tweeted after the match “It was very tough today, but now our goal is to go to #RWC15 and put in a good performance. Thank you to our fans.”
Japan’s win means that they have qualified for every Rugby World Cup since it’s inception in 1987. They will play in Pool B alongside South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and United States of America.
Hong Kong still have a chance to make it into the World Cup despite losing and can play the repechage matches at a later date.
Japan now look to the World Cup to put in a good performance and have a tough pool to play. The Rugby World Cup 2015 will host 20 teams in four pools with the top two from each pool going into the play off rounds. The tournament is set for kick off in Twickenham on the 18th September 2015 between England and yet to be decided team from Oceania region which could be Hong Kong, Russia, Uruguay or an African team.
The winner of the Rugby World Cup will be awarded the Webb Ellis Cup, a silver gilded trophy cup and claim it for four years. The defending champions are New Zealand who won it on home soil in 2011, beating France in a hard fought match.
By Warren Adamson