Today’s title is an expression you will see whenever Japan is playing sport. The two kanji 必勝 normally adorn headbands worn by supporters. The meaning of the first is “definitely” and the second is “win”. Yesterday, they definitely won.

But before getting onto THAT game, a quick recap on the other two matches yesterday. In the early kick-off, Argentina flew out of the blocks against Tonga, securing a bonus point in under 30 minutes before taking their foot off the gas in the second period.

In the late game, an all African affair, South Africa comprehensively overpowered the minnows of Namibia. The key match to determine qualification from this group is looking likely to be the Springboks’ match with Italy, which will be taking place in Shizuoka.

And that’s where yesterday’s big game was held, too.

On my way to work in the morning, I passed by many huddles of green taking a look around the city before catching the train to the venue.

Once work was over, I headed full steam for the fan zone, where a much larger crowd had assembled than there was for the Russia game. The weather was much better, too.

Ireland started well with an early try (not converted), but Japan quickly replied with 3 points of their own. Ireland then scored a second try (converted) to take a 12-3 lead, but Japan managed to kick themselves to within 3 by half time.

The second half saw Japan move ahead 16-12 thanks to their only try of the match before they kicked another 3 meaning Ireland would need two scores to win or a converted try to level.

That didn’t happen, and a huge roar broke out to celebrate a victory for the host nation on a par with their triumph against South Africa in the last tournament.

Japan now look well-placed to qualify for the last eight, but neither Samoa nor Scotland will be pushovers in their final group games. Ireland will also be expected to qualify, despite this unexpected setback.

CORRECTION: Thanks again to Yuka. It is possible to say both 必勝 (hisshou) and 必ず勝つ (kanarazu katsu). You should read the headband as “hisshou”, as the kanji stand alone.

Today’s Matches
Argentina 28-12 Tonga (Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka)
Japan 19-12 Ireland (Shizuoka Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka)
South Africa 57-3 Namibia (City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota)

Tomorrow’s Matches
Georgia vs Uruguay (1415 JST) (Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya)
Australia vs Wales (1645 JST) (Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo)

Expression of the day
必勝 (kanarazu katsu)
Which means…
We will definitely win!

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