Japan collides with Russia in the Rugby World Cup opener today at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo. The home team will be under pressure as they are the first Asian country to ever host the highest level tournament as far as international Rugby is concerned. This is also the first time that the sport’s marquee tournament is about to held outside of the traditional Rugby Union Heartland.
Ahead of their opening encounter, Japan is determined not to crash out of the tournament early as England did 4 years ago. In 2015, England became the first-ever host to get knocked out in the first round of the World Cup, after they suffered successive defeats against Wales and Australia. Japan’s captain claimed that this World Cup campaign would be the best for them, as far as their performance is concerned.
From today onwards, 20 teams will play 48 matches with a common goal of lifting the World Cup title. The tournament is a pretty long one, as it will end on November 2 at the International Stadium in Yokohama.
England will start their RWC campaign on Sunday when they take on Tonga at the Sapporo Dome. The English team has already been announced and coach Eddie Jones kept his trust in the youth brigade. He chose Tom Curry for blind-side and George Ford for the fly-half position. Sam Underhill will fulfil his duties at the open-side. Ben Youngs will win his 90th England cap as he is all set to play at scrum-half. Manu Tuilagi will play at the outside-centre. Inside-centre Owen Farrell will lead the team throughout the World Cup campaign.
According to BBC, Jones said “There’s no doubt Tonga will want to come through the front door, and we want to play a little bit out the back door against them. One of the things we’ve used the warm-up games for is to develop an adaptable squad that allows us to have more adaptable tactics, and this one of the options we can use.”
England is determined to lift their second World Rugby title. The last time they won the World Cup was back in 2003 when they beat the hosts Australia 20-17 at the Telstra Stadium in Sydney. The entire nation will be hoping for the team to repeat a similar feat in Yokohama on the night of November 2.