Japan’s romantic tale tarnished by politics
spot would complete that quest. If the game does get played, hooker Shota Horie will return from the bench, lock Luke Thompson will replace Wimpie van der Walt and winger Kenki Fukuoka, who scored the winning try against Ireland, will come in for Lomano Lemeki. Will Tupou takes the place of Ryohei Yamanaka.
“My team is motivated by achieving something great, not avoiding embarrassment,” Joseph said. “The reports I’ve read are about legal proceedings around the typhoon. It’s a huge Test match for us. I feel we’ve got the most to lose because we’re in the best position to win the pool.”
Japan are drawing, too, on their 45-10 defeat by Scotland at the 2015 tournament. “Four years ago, I was watching the game in my dorm in university. I was inspired by that Japan team,” Kazuki Himeno said. “I was resolute that I’d become one of the Japanese players at this World Cup. We felt much bitterness after that match.”
Joseph has endeavoured to harden the resolve of this squad. Leitch said: “He’s a hard man. He’s had a great impact on this team.”
And Joseph himself referenced his roots in All Black rugby to explain the transition he wants Japan to make from everybody’s favourite underdogs to ruthless
‘The storm is something we can’t control, so we don’t care about it’