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100 days to go to Rugby World Cup France 2023! Japan joins top ranked teams

100 days to go to Rugby World Cup France 2023! Japan joins top ranked teams

The countdown is on to Rugby World Cup France 2023 with 31 May marking 100 days to go to the start of the tournament on September 8! This will be the 10th Rugby World Cup since the first tournament which was jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia in 1987. This year also marks a milestone in the history of rugby with 200 years since the birth of the sport in 1823 when William Ellis of “Rugby School” in England first ran with the ball in his hand during a football game.  

In the past, the Japanese national team suffered a devastating defeat of 145 - 17 at the third Rugby World Cup against the All Blacks, however at the tournament in 2015 the team's tenacious comeback to victory over the mighty South African team prompted head coach Eddie Jones to proclaim "The world has changed”. In addition, the team accomplished its elusive goal of finishing in the top eight at the last tournament in 2019.     

Japan's national team has been steadily gaining international recognition and has been classified as a "Tier 2" nation, however the international governing body World Rugby (WR) has reorganized the framework of the 10 "Tier 1" nations to create a "High Performance Union" of 11 teams, including Japan. This is indeed very exciting news for Japan. 

Current candidates for this tournament to keep an eye out for include veterans such as captain Atsushi Sakate and Michael Leitch, as well as youngsters like 22 year old Warner Dearns of New Zealand, who stands at over 2 meters tall and scored a spectacular try against the All Blacks last year. Others include another 22 year old, tough fly-half Seungsin Lee and 24 year old flanker Koji Shimokawa, who’s situational judgment is outstanding. The level of talent continues to grow with each game and expectations are high for the future and further growth of these young players.

Will the Japanese team in their cherry blossom jerseys once again show their strength and courage in front of rugby fans around the world? And which country will take home the coveted Webb Ellis Cup? We can’t wait to see what Rugby World Cup has in store for us!


STH Japan K.K.

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Tel: 03-4520-6977


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