HOPES HIGH IN HOKKAIDO

Every team to have featured in the competition so far has been trailing at some stage. Japan, Australia and New Zealand all managed to hold onto their advantage after fighting back from behind, but the Pumas let it slip.

In a gripping evening encounter which both sides attacked with vigour, the All Blacks and Springboks upped the quality and intensity of RWC 2019, but in the end New Zealand were able to keep South Africa at arm’s length to record a deserved victory.

Today, Italy will be expected to see off Namibia before Ireland and Scotland do battle in a crunch clash in Yokohama. The night game sees England open their campaign against Tonga in Sapporo.

England will be quietly confident about their tournament prospects, as only Wales have managed to defeat them this year (winning 2 out of 3 encounters). They also matched up well against the All Blacks in their friendly last year, going down by a single point.

Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido and renowned for its Snow Festival in winter when massive sculptures are carved out of ice. Skiing/snowboarding is also available with slopes located very close to the city centre.

In terms of food, Sapporo ramen and the quirkily named Genghis Khan enjoy the most fame, although as a vegetarian I won’t be partaking.

Beer is fine for me, though; the Sapporo brewery is located centrally and worth a visit. Get the three drink sample set to warm up for the game.

Sapporo Kuro (Black) Label is my go-to for non-craft beer in Japan. I actually prefer Sapporo Classic, but that is normally only available in Hokkaido.

If you’re looking for a day trip, Otaru is a short train ride and well worth a visit.

Enjoy the games today!

Yesterday’s Matches
Australia 39-21 Fiji (Sapporo Dome, Sapporo)
France 23-21 Argentina (Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo)
New Zealand 23-13 South Africa (International Stadium, Yokohama)

Today’s Matches
Italy vs Namibia (1415 JST) (Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka)
Ireland vs Scotland (1645 JST) (International Stadium, Yokohama)
England vs Tonga (1915 BST) (Sapporo Dome, Sapporo)

Expression of the day
生を一つ・二つお願いします (nama wo hitotsu/futatsu onegaishimasu)
Which means…
One/Two draught beer(s), please!

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