WATCH: Japan enter the quarters with a top-notch 28-21 victory over Scotland in RWC 2019 4 months ago

WATCH: Japan enter the quarters with a top-notch 28-21 victory over Scotland in RWC 2019

Japan faced off against Scotland despite doubts of the match being called off.

The past few days were mired with news and uncertainty over this game with Scotland threatening legal action if the tie was cancelled. The Scots came into the game placed third in Pool A and requiring four more points than Japan whilst preventing them from garnering a bonus point to enter the quarters. The best Scotland could hope for was a second-place finish with the All Blacks to face in the knockouts. Tasty.

Japan meanwhile had the opportunity to enter their first-ever quarterfinal and 67,000 fans crammed into the Yokohama stadium to urge the Brave Blossoms towards unprecedented history. Additionally, this side had never beaten Scotland in Test Rugby before, until today.

Japan 28 -21 Scotland: Watch highlights below


The game kicked off after a sombre moment of silence in honour of all the victims of the devastating Typhoon Hagibis.

Just seven minutes into the game, the Scots drew first blood after they moved through the phases before Finn Russell whizzed through the home defence to score. Greg Laidlaw added the two points for an early 7-0 lead.

19 minutes in and Japan responded as Kenki Fukuoka flipped the ball for the speedy Kotaro Matsushima who crossed over to score his fifth try of the tournament. Yu Tamura added the conversion to level the scores.

27 minutes in and scintillating rugby began to flow from the Japanese contingent – Shota Horie clambered towards the line before flicking the ball to Keita Inagaki who touched down for his team's second try of the night. An absolutely brilliant team move with outrageous handling on show from the Brave Blossoms.

Despite starting well, the Scots were left flustered after two quick-fire Japanese tries.

39 minutes in and Japan were awarded a penalty but Tamura failed to capitalise as the ball ended up right of the posts.

Then, in the 40th minute, Japan grabbed their third try of the game after Timothy Lafaele lobbed a deft kick for Fukuoka who scooped up the ball before scurrying over the line. Tamura converted for a halftime score of 21-7. Japan were comfortably in the lead and were by far the better team so far – they put in 21 tackles and had 74% of the possession.

Scotland needed to win with four more points than Japan and by halftime, they looked a country mile away from achieving that. Additionally, no team had come back to win a rugby match with a halftime deficit of 14 points. But, things would take an interesting turn in the next 40 minutes.

The second half kicked off and just three minutes in, Japan landed their bonus point with their fourth try. After Chris Harris was robbed of possession, Fukuoka was on hand to scoop up the ball to race past the line. Tamura added the conversion for a comfortable score of 28-7

50 minutes in though and the Scots began to fight back – WP Nel brushed aside Japanese defenders to scramble over the line, offering Scotland a much needed lifeline. Laidlaw converted for a score of 28-14.

In the 57th minute, Scotland ensured a frantic end to the game after Zander Fagerson scored off a lovely offload from Jonny Gray. Russell converted to put Scotland just seven points off the hosts.

Certainly, the Scots had begun the second half better and a comeback was still on the cards.

67 minutes in and Scotland found themselves needing 15 points in 15 minutes.

Entering the final 10 minutes, it was now or never for Scotland as they probed the Japanese defence for their next try. But try as they might, Japan always had an answer for every Scottish question. Absolutely stunning defending was put on show by the Brave Blossoms.

Scotland huffed and puffed but they ultimately couldn't break through with their chances of a quarterfinal berth dissipating into the night sky.

And then, in the 80th minute, an entire nation erupted with cheers of joy as full-time finally arrived. A country reeling from the pain of a devastating typhoon barely 24 hours ago were reaping unparalleled joy now and on their way to their first ever quarterfinals.

Japanese coach Jamie Joseph spoke post-game:

"You just look around and see how special a moment this is for the whole country. Before I talk about the footie, I really want to acknowledge the families that have lost people to the typhoon, that really motivated our team and we talked about it today. While we are celebrating, there will be a lot of people that aren’t."

"Tonight, my team went to another level. They gave everything they possibly could. That’s what it takes to win big Test matches."

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend spoke to ITV post-game:

 "A big disappointment. We were obviously aware that this was huge for the home nation. The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic. You didn't want to be the team that was losing in that atmosphere."

"We had a mountain to climb after that first half - especially after the [Japan] try just before half-time - but we started climbing it and I thought the effort the players put in to get back to within seven points was excellent."

The Scots, despite their poor start put in a brave shift in the second half and their loss today meant that they have failed to exit their group in the WC for just the second time in their history. They might rue coming up short in their big games against Ireland and Japan looking back on this tournament.

As for Japan, willed on by a roaring crowd, they demonstrated outstanding skill and fatigue defying fitness to clinch the result and a showdown against South Africa awaits them next . Tier Two nation? Yeah right!