No surprises in Toulouse. Under the heat and fervor of the Stadium, Japan did not tremble for its entry into the World Cup. The Japanese, quarter-finalists in 2019, logically defeated Chile (42-12). The “Condores”, who are competing in the first World Cup in their history, started the match well before falling apart.
Opposite, the Japanese pocketed the offensive bonus (6 tries) which could be important in this group D composed in particular of England and Argentina, but also Samoa. Japan will challenge the XV de la Rose next Sunday (9 p.m.) in Nice, while Chile will face the Samoans on Saturday (3 p.m.) in Nantes.
Widely favorites against the little thumb of the event, the "Brave Blossoms", who took the lead in group D ahead of England, victorious on Saturday from Argentina, did not really impress but they were able to take advantage each time. of their numerical superiority after the two Chilean yellow cards received by Matias Dittus (24) and Martin Sigren (38) to give themselves some air at halftime (21-7).
Deprived of their captain Kazuki Himeno at the last moment, Japan, feverish defensively on several occasions, actually broke away thanks to the second try from their second row Amato Fakatava just before the break. Novice at this level, the 22nd team in the world ranking had nevertheless ideally started its history in the World Cup by opening the scoring thanks to its number 10 Rodrigo Fernandez (6). The latter had already largely contributed to his team's qualification for this World Cup by scoring one of the best tries of last season during the decisive double confrontation against the United States.
As a symbol, Japan finally secured the offensive bonus through its former captain Mickaël Leitch, who is playing in his fourth World Cup (28-12, 55th). The quarter-finalist of the last edition then offered himself a more comfortable lead at the very end of the match. Not enough, however, to eliminate all the doubts that accompany a team which had nine defeats in its last ten matches.
Jamie Joseph's men will have to significantly raise their level of play during their next meeting, September 17 in Nice against the English. A summit meeting whose winner will then be in a privileged position to secure one of the first two places. On the occasion of the second day of this group D, Chile, courageous and playful, will face Samoa on September 16 in Bordeaux.