Japan Ties Canada Blowing a Chance to Win the Rugby World Cup

Happy faces were hard to find among Rugby World Cup teams on Tuesday.

Kosuke Endo of Japan ran past Jebb Sinclair, Canada’s number 4, to score his team’s second try on Tuesday in Napier, New Zealand.

Italy labored to a 27-10 victory over the United States in Nelson, and Japan conceded a 23-23 draw with Canada in Napier, blowing a chance in its last pool match to end a Cup-record 17-game winless streak that dates to 1991.

Canada scored eight points in the last five minutes to salvage the draw with Japan, but it failed to put any pressure on France as both tried to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. New Zealand has already secured one of the quarterfinal spots from Pool A.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Blows a Chance to Finally Win at Rugby World Cup.

Rugby: Japan seeks spiritual help before Tongan encounter

After conceding 130 points in two losses, Japan coach John Kirwan felt his players needed a little spiritual help ahead of the Rugby World Cup match against Tonga on Wednesday.

The former All Black great and his squad traveled to Waipoua Forest near the northern tip of New Zealand to visit the sacred tree Tane Mahuta—“Lord of the Forest” in Maori—on Sunday. Revered as a Maori icon and thought to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years old, it is the largest kauri tree in existence at 51.2 meters high (168 feet). It is also linked with Japan, being named a sister tree of Jomon Sugi in Yakushima in 2009.

“This is a very strong place for us to be,” Kirwan said. “We will take your strength with us on Wednesday night, when we have a huge game ahead of us.”

Read the rest of the story: Japan seeks spiritual help before Tongan encounter.

Japan, Asia’s dominant rugby nation

Japan's Takashi Kikutani (right) tackles a South Korean player - Photo AFP

Defending champions Japan opened their Asian Five Nations campaign with an emphatic 71-13 win over South Korea on Saturday, highlighted by a remarkable five-try effort from winger Kosuke Endo.

In a classic game of two halves, Japan, Asia’s dominant rugby nation, started slow as the Koreans came out with a ferocious intent that saw them push hard early on.

Unfortunately a weak boot from Korean fly-half Yoon Hee-Soo, who missed two of three kickable penalties in the first-half, prevented them from generating any early momentum.

Read the rest of the story: Heavyweights Japan crush Korea in Asian Five Nations