Rugby World Cup: Preparation drives Japan’s perfect coup

Unlike four years ago, favourable schedule in the pool will now suit the Brave Blossoms

 Michael Leitch and Fumiaki Tanaka of Japan celebrate  following the  Group A victory over Ireland. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Michael Leitch and Fumiaki Tanaka of Japan celebrate following the Group A victory over Ireland. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Japan are now a serious factor at their own 2019 World Cup. The conditions and the scheduling already in their favour, now, thanks to a brilliantly planned ambushing of Ireland, the Brave Blossoms also have a new-found popularity in their own country, momentum and self-confidence.

Well, they are the hosts, and as the history of both the Rugby World Cup and Fifa World Cup shows, the host country often perform above themselves. While England went out in the pool stages four years ago, they are the only hosts to have done so.

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