Japanese Rugby Maintains Upward Curve Following Positive 2019 World Cup
The 2019 Rugby Union World Cup was memorable for a number of reasons. Some thrilling action took place on the pitch, while the host nation Japan delighted with excellent facilities and some impressive rugby of their own.
As the 2023 tournament approaches, it’s a good time to assess the progression of Japanese rugby over the last three years. Have the Brave Blossoms continued to flower or does the current squad need pruning ahead of next year’s event?
Autumn Tests 2022
The 2022 rugby union schedules offered seven international challenges for Japan’s senior men’s team. In July, there were four games, split equally between Uruguay and France.
Following two comfortable victories against the Uruguayans, Japan tested the French but ultimately fell short. While there have been some notable exceptions, games tend to follow a pattern. Japan is disposing of the weaker sides but, against the major nations, they still need to raise their game.
Japan came so close to securing a historic win over New Zealand at the start of November 2022. The All Blacks may not be at their brilliant best right now, but the 31-38 defeat at the National Stadium in Tokyo represented significant progress for Head Coach Jamie Joseph and his team.
Moving forward, the Brave Blossoms went into the November Tests with Japan taking on England and France before the Autumn International series comes to a close. With England losing to Argentina at the start of November, this may have been a good time for Japan to play Eddie Jones’ side, but they were dispatched by a ruthless England team at Twickenham 52-13.
Above all, the team was looking for some positive performances ahead of the biggest rugby union tournament on earth in France in 2023, and in their final test of the year on November 19th 2022 they lost 35-17 which was probably an indication of their readiness for the big stage.
World Cup 2023 Focus
Whatever the 2022 season results revealed, the objective for all rugby union-playing nations is the same. The focus is on the World Cup and the oft-discussed four-year preparation cycle. The RWC 2023 will take place in France across September and October next year and the Japanese already know their opponents and base camp.
Having made an impression on home soil in 2019, Japan will want to go deep into this tournament, even if the neutral standpoint is stacked against them. Host nation France will go into the competition as the favourites to lift the trophy while New Zealand, Ireland, England and the holders South Africa are expected to provide the strongest challenges.
Japan has helped to grow the interest in rugby unions across Asia and those markets are supplied by the best sports betting sites in India. They are sourced by the Asiabet website and the odds are similar in other countries around the continent and beyond.
The prices are subject to change and will be constantly updated in the lead-up to the 2023 World Cup. Along with those odds, the site also provides useful rugby information via blog posts and breaking news.
Japan’s future internationals will come under scrutiny. They failed to capitalise on the positive showing against the All Blacks and suffered heavy defeats against England and France. The fixture list for 2023 is still to be confirmed but with rumours of hosting the Pacific Nations Cup as well as playing the NZ Maori next year, the Japanese will look to fill up their calendar in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup 2023.
Having made a mark on home soil in 2019, Japan will need some confidence-boosting wins ahead of the next tournament. With that in mind, the organisers should consider their opponents carefully and maybe look to avoid the bigger sides for now. Whatever happens, odds for upcoming internationals will all be covered by Asiabet.
Even in their wildest dreams, this current Japan squad couldn’t imagine a World Cup win just yet, but what can supporters genuinely expect over the next few years?
How far can Japanese Rugby go?
Japan need to start converting those close call-matched into wins against the major rugby-playing nations. There are precedents: On the way to winning their group at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the host nation recorded stunning victories over Ireland and Scotland.
Since that point, the team has only claimed wins over weaker teams and that’s something that the coach will want to address before next year’s tournament. Moving forward, Japan would also want to play more rugby and their schedule is quiet compared to other countries.
It’s largely been a positive period since hosting the 2019 World Cup, but the Japanese Rugby Union needs to keep moving forward and there will be a measure of the team’s progress at next year’s tournament.
This is an invited post not written by Rugby Asia 247.