Matthieu Jalibert (XV de France) félicite Baptiste Couilloud, auteur de l

Rugby. Japan-France: How the Japanese press judges the “small” victory of the XV of France

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Matthieu Jalibert (XV of France) congratulates Baptiste Couilloud, author of the victory test against Japan. (©Icon Sport)

This will not surprise you: the rugby is not a major sport in Japan. Baseball, sumo and golf are largely in the majority, and we don’t hide the fact that it’s a hell of a journey to find the rugby section on the websites of major Japanese newspapers. A hurry yet very present in the country, since we find there some of the most distributed/sold/read dailies on the planet.

“Missed historic victory” for Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun, distributed in 14 million copies in the Land of the Rising Sun, dealt very briefly with the match, emphasizing only that Japan had “missed the feat” and that it had been “overthrown” 10 minutes from the game over. The daily focuses mainly on the silent prayer offered to Shinzo Abethe former Prime Minister assassinated on July 8, very present with the national team during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The Asahi Shimbun, another newspaper widely read in Japan, is a little more explicit about the meeting, and notably mentions a “historic missed victory” by Japanbeaten during a meeting which was not “a good fight”, while the spectator record was broken (57,011 people). The daily even mentions the word “mess” about the Brave Blossoms, who “improved” after losing the first test in Aichi by 19 points, and where Tevita Tatafu could have offered victory if he had not let go the ball when flattening. About the Blues? It’s just about a team that came without “its best players”, but still managed to win.

The Mainichi Shimbun believes for its part that Japan, “thanks to its speed” and its “good footwork”, has “cornered” the XV of France. A “tactical change” compared to the first test, but which did not pay off, in particular because of a “failing touch” and whose “main strength of France is combat”.

Toulouse winger Matthis Lebel was the best player in the XV of France against Japan.
Toulouse winger Matthis Lebel scored the first try for the XV of France against Japan in Tokyo. (©Icon Sport)

“An upside-down XV of France”

On the side of Nikkan Sportsone of the main newspapers specializing in sport, it is pointed out that the XV of France seemed “upside down”, and only won a “small victory” in Japan (15-20), however continuing its very nice series with a 10e success in a row, a record in the history of the XV of France.

The media also judges that Japan, which can rely in the future on talented young people, like the two elements seen at the hinge, “the mission of catching up with the major nations continues” and that the tests of he autumn, with matches against England and France in particular, are particularly awaited.

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Sponichi, he notes that Japan made “too many mistakes in the second half”, not even scoring any points against the XV of France. Unlike France which, and “it has become one of its strengths”, marks despite few opportunities.

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