Brave Rugby World Cup debutants Chile lose to Japan

Japan celebrate a try against Chile
Japan’s next opponents are England, who they face in Nice on 17 September
Japan: (21) 42
Tries: Fakatava 2, Naikabula, Leitch, Nakamura, Dearns Cons: Matsuda 6
Chile: (7) 12
Tries: Fernandez, A Escobar Con: Videla

Chile impressed on their World Cup bow but Japan pulled away to comfortably win their Pool D opener in Toulouse.

Chile led early on with a Rodrigo Fernandez try but Japan soon seized control to go 21-7 ahead by half-time.

Amato Fakatava’s two scores sandwiched Jone Naikabula’s effort for Japan, who face England next on 17 September.

Alfonso Escobar reduced Chile’s deficit but Michael Leitch secured Japan’s bonus point, before Ryoto Nakamura and Warner Dearns completed the scoring.

Chile are the 26th nation to play at a Rugby World Cup and the South American side made a dream start with the opening try inside six minutes.

It had appeared a swift break on their right touchline had broken down, but the loose ball landed at the feet of fly-half Fernandez and he kicked through to score.

Their willingness to move the ball through hands was a pleasing feature of their attacking play and they defended resolutely for long spells, although ill-discipline cost them as two of Japan’s first-half tries came while they were reduced to 14 men.

Prop Matias Dittus saw yellow for a low, late challenge and later captain Martin Sigren was sent to the sin bin after making head-to-head contact in a tackle.

Escobar’s close-range try for Chile, scored shortly after Japan centre Dylan Riley was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, raised hopes of a potential upset.

But those hopes were quickly extinguished when flanker Leitch, playing in his fourth World Cup for Japan, dived under the posts to secure a full five-point haul for his side.

The Brave Blossoms reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 2019 on home soil and will likely need to beat either England or Argentina to repeat that achievement in France.

Pool D table


Japan: Masirewa; Matsushima, Riley, Nakamura, Naikabula; Matsuda, Nagare; Inagaki, Sakate, Gu, Saumaki, Fakatava, Leitch, Shimokawa, Cornelsen.

Replacements: Horie, Millar, Ai Valu, Dearns, Fukui, Saito, Osada, Lemeki.

Sin bin: Riley (47)

Chile: Ayarza; Videla, D Saavedra, Garafulic, Velarde; Fernandez, Torrealba; Carrasco, D Escobar, Dittus, C Saavedra, Eissmann, Sigren, Martinez, A Escobar.

Replacements: Bohme, Lues, Gurruchaga, Huete, Pedrero, Silva, Carvallo, Larenas.

Sin bin: Dittus (24), Sigren (38)

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