Japan are on the verge of qualifying for the quarter-finals for the first time in their history and if that happens, expect unprecedented scenes of delight across this amazing country.
They opened this tournament with a 30-10 win over Russia and last weekend’s thrilling 38-19 victory against Samoa, where a Kotaro Matsushima try in the 84th minute finally secured a dramatic bonus point, which means Japan go into this contest with 14 points.
Japan has proven to be a wonderful host for this tournament and the Brave Blossoms have been in sublime form on the field as well, most notably in their fantastic 19-12 victory over Ireland a fortnight ago at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa.
Spirit Of Rugby
Coach Jamie Joseph would have happily taken that scenario a month ago and he is a happy man ahead of this potentially defining match for his side.
“I’m really proud of this team,” he said. “They have a never say die attitude. Our focus now is to go out and win against Scotland and things will take care of themselves.
“This is the first time Japan have ever had a chance to top a pool so this is new territory for us.”
Do or Die for Scotland
Scotland on the other side has had a slightly rockier journey than Japan but all signs are there that they are now on an upward trajectory.
When they click into place, Scotland play a fantastic brand of rugby with Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw orchestrating their attacks, backed up by a solid pack where captain Stuart McInally and second-row Jonny Gray play with immense power and authority.
Scotland was comfortably second best in their Rugby World Cup opener with Ireland, losing 27-3, but they have blossomed since then, and they will hope that continues this evening.
The final 80 minutes of the pool stage of World Cup 2019 should be an epic contest between two sides who have come to epitomise skill, determination and effort on display in Pool A.
Prepare for a brilliant and potentially historic sporting occassion between two sides who will certainly give their all.
“Main photo credit”