By dominating Scotland (27-3) on Sunday (22 September) in Yokohama, the Irish have not only strengthened their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup. They somewhat showered the hopes of the Japanese, who secretly bet on a draw between two of their future opponents in Pool A.
Such a result would have strengthened the Brave Blossoms' ambitions to advance to the quarterfinals, a first for them who have participated in all nine world tournaments, without ever getting out of the pools.
The Irish vs. Scottish match was played in front of 63,731 spectators. The Irish green dominated the stands, to the point that the organizers did not hesitate to broadcast at halftime the famous ballad The Fields of Athenry.
Cause or consequence, it is then that the rain arrived, without modifying the face of a match having testified to the formidable efficiency Irish which knew to silence the talented offensive flashes of the opener Finn Russell, or the back Stuart Hogg.
"Not enough energy"
"We did not put enough energy at the beginning of the match. This is not what was shown during the preparation. Afterwards, it was difficult to go up 20 points behind », conceded, disappointed, Scottish coach, Gregor Townsend.
Lack of energy, but also lack of hand and clearly lack of power. Ireland scored three tries in strength, by James Ryan, then Dean Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong, in less than 25 minutes in the first period. In battle, the Scots lost the precious flanker, also serious tackle, Hamish Watson, knee injury.
The Irish added a fourth try, by Andrew Conway, in a more balanced second period, which allowed them to finish with the offensive bonus. "We started the meeting well", euphemised Joe Schmidt, the New Zealand coach of the Irish. "We could not afford to leave any space in Scotland", politely added Captain Rory Best.
The result was more or less expected, the Irish dominating the world rankings. Even on the Japanese side, there was little illusion. The Brave Blossoms know that they will have to beat one of the two teams to hope to qualify. In their eyes, Scotland seems more affordable than Ireland.
On the fans' side, the debates were lively before and during the meeting on Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter, a certain Takayuki has come to expect a typhoon "For the match between Japan and Ireland" scheduled for 28 September. He resumed a debate that agitated the Japanese supporters for several days.
On the Brave Blossoms Facebook page, Eri Takekata wondered before the Ireland-Scotland match: "Which team should we support? " In response, Takahisa Ooshiman expressed hope for a "Draw in the rain", invoking typhoon number 17, dubbed "Tapah", which skirted the coast of the Sea of Japan after blowing winds to nearly 160 km / h and caused torrential rains on the southern archipelago of Okinawa and Osaka , and who was indirectly responsible for that on Yokohama.
A typhoon could cancel the match and, as the rules of the competition forbid moving the date of a match, each team would have received two points, as in a draw.
"I pray for a draw, just for this match", wrote, on his side, Yukari Nishida, while Toru Ehara went further, recalling with humor that, in the catch, "Both opponents can lose and be ejected from the ring. This is not possible this time? "
Finally, no match point. And the Brave Blossoms have an appointment on September 28 with victorious Irishmen. "It's a team that plays fast, with players with great technical skills. We will have to make adjustments "said Joe Schmidt about the Japanese.
As for Scotland, she must return to Samoa on September 30th. This may be where a certain Siro will go. On Twitter, the Japanese amateur of figure skating, baseball, rugby and boxing, regretted not being able to attend Scotland-Ireland, not to miss "Ikemen Laidlaw", ("The handsome Laidlaw" in reference to Scottish scrum half, Greig Laidlaw) who, failing to lead his team to victory, seems to have its small success with the Japanese.
Rugby World Cup: find all the groups
Group A: all you need to know about Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Russia and Samoa.
Group B: all you need to know about New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Namibia and Canada.
Group C: all you need to know about France, England, Argentina, Tonga and the United States.
Group D: all you need to know about Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay.