Excitement Builds At Tokyo Stadium Ahead Of RWC Opener
With just hours to go before Japan kicks off the 2019 RWC against Russia, excitement is building.
Fans wearing red and white striped jerseys dominate around Tokyo Stadium.
Russian supporters are scarce to say the least; in fact most of the foreigners here represent countries like Ireland, South Africa and England.
Many Japanese fans have gone the extra mile, sporting top hats, decorating their faces with paint and wearing masks of the national team players.
One colorful home supporter said, “I hope Japan will win. I know it’s not the same as the South African game in the 2015 World Cup, but I am confident that we will win.” When asked by what margin, he predicted a two-point victory over Russia.
Obviously, there’s a touch of nervousness over this first match for the Japanese. The hosts plan to reach the top eight and a strong performance against Russia is paramount to creating momentum for the team and confidence for the supporters.
Not only are the Japanese locals out in droves but also visitors from abroad with the new Brave Blossom jerseys on. One member of a group said they were from Finland and all play rugby there adding, “We love Japan, it’s a great country. We think Japan will win by 60 points.”
Another Japanese fan was bit more confident when he said, “I’ve been supporting Japan since I was in high school, ever since I started playing actually. Japan will win today. I expect the Brave Blossoms to score at least four tries and win by more than 25 points.”
While the Japanese supporters seem to be more circumspect about their team’s chances of laying down a solid mark in the opener, the overseas fans are going for a complete annihilation by the home side.
There is a very short history between these two sides. Just a single match in November last year in which Japan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last minute try to secure a 32-27 victory.
This upcoming match though may see a much larger winning margin due to the fact that most of the crowd gathering at Tokyo Stadium is dressed in red and white.
Regardless of the result, the fans will surely be treated to a fantastic game of rugby.
- Todd Phillips: Sept 20, 2019