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Japan Rugby World Cup : Related Information
The Japanese national rugby union team (often known as the Cherry Blossoms, Sakura, and more recently The Brave Blossoms) is traditionally the strongest rugby union power in Asia and has enjoyed and endured mixed results against non-Asian teams over the years. The rugby union in Japan is administered by the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU), which was founded in 1926. They compete annually in the Pacific Nations Cup and previously in the Asia Rugby Championship. They have also participated in every Rugby World Cup since the tournament began in 1987. This continued into 2015 where they produced the first of their three biggest upsets when, in a Rugby World Cup pool match against the Springboks, they won 34–32. Their second shock win was a 19–12 defeat of world number-two ranked Ireland in a 2019 Rugby World Cup pool game. Japan made its first-ever World Cup quarter-final appearance, going down 3–26 to eventual world champions South Africa. After Hirao resigned, Toshiba Brave Lupus coach Shogo Mukai was appointed in March 2001 to lead Japan up to the 2003 Rugby World Cup. In 2006, despite a disappointing campaign in the inaugural Pacific Nations Cup in June where Japan lost all their matches and also lost to heavily to Italy 52–6, Elissalde was backed to lead the side to the 2007 Rugby World Cup. After starting with large wins over the Asian opposition, Japan only won one of their remaining 10 fixtures in 2007, although in the 2007 Rugby World Cup they did gain a draw with a last-minute touchline conversion from Shotaro Onishi against Canada to end a long losing streak of World Cup matches stretching back to 1991 Japan had a disappointing 2011 Rugby World Cup, losing 31–18 to Tonga who they had beaten four times in a row since 2008, and drawing again to Canada who they had beaten 46–8 and 27–6 in 2009, and Japan left the World Cup winless meaning they still had not won a match at the tournament since 1991. On 19 September 2015, Japan stunned South Africa by a last-minute try from Karne Hesketh to win 34–32 in their opening group pool game at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Brighton. In 2015, Japan became the first team in World Cup history to win three pool games but still be eliminated at the group stage, due to their heavy loss to Scotland. Japan hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2019, and the team repeated their feat of a shock win in Brighton at the 2015 World Cup, this time beating world No. 2-ranked Ireland 19–12 at Shizuoka Stadium in Fukuroi, Shizuoka. They reached the quarter-finals for the first time in the team's history after beating Scotland 28–21 at the International Stadium Yokohama.