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From Oliver Trenchard
Japanese rugby writer
This is no longer a miracle.
Since the Brave Blossoms booked a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals for the first time read many Japanese newspapers.
Press and the Japanese people are waking to the truth that their national team are becoming a force to be reckoned with on the biggest stage of all.
However, this did not happen.
The stride and endurance of Kenki Fukuoka and celebrity wingers Kotaro Matsushima, coupled with all the epic leadership of captain along with back-rower Michael Leitch, deserve but theres more to this Brave Blossoms than their own poster boys.
Japan possess ball-playing capability from 1 to 15 – and also on the replacements bench.
They have to rival that of resistance backs, capable of several offloads as demonstrated by hooker Shota Horie against Scotland.
The Brave Blossoms know their strengths lie with their fitness and so are eager to increase time that is ball-in-play, moving the ball away from the region of contact.
The hosts confront winners South Africa at the previous eight on Sunday, after becoming the sporting story of the pool point. BBC Sport looks at the causes of the increase of Japan.
Launching the Sunwolves into Super Rugby a couple of months has brought benefits to the national team.
The gamers are testing themselves a luxury they would not have with Top League soccer that is national, against quality southern hemisphere opposition .
Though the Sunwolves will participate in Super Rugby from 2021, theyve played a role in Japans World Cup preparations.
An additional alignment involving the group and the Sunwolves across the past two seasons has seen head coach Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown taking the reins of teams, leading to the Super Rugby side becoming an expansion of their Brave Blossoms.
Much of this attacking flair and flair handling Japan have generated in the World Cup was in Super Rugby.
Joseph and Brown had the luxury prior period of choosing which players featured for the Sunwolves, pulling out the majority of Japans World Cup squad to get a series of intensive coaching camps and allowing that the Brave Blossoms to perfect those set-piece routines and backs moves, also arguably make them the most fittest team in the tournament.
It is not the Sunwolves where football has benefitted from foreign coaches.
The very successful Super Rugby trainer by number of titles, robbie Deans, key into the development of wing Fukuoka and forward Horie and Keita Inagaki and has been at the helm of Panasonic Wild Knights at the League since 2014.
Meanwhile, one of the players of the championship thus far, Kazuki Himeno, has 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White to thank for his progression.
White was appointed head coach Toyota Verblitz in 2017, whom Himeno joined in April this year straight from university.
Just one month later, he was appointed ruler by White, stating that it was ahuge chance for him to develop.
The back-row forward struggled to handle the captaincy initially but began reading books on leadership, staying late at night in cafes and building a team.
He was rewarded with his original Brave Blossoms call-up, less than two weeks after making his debut Verblitz in the Top League.
He has continued on his trajectory along with his work in the breakdown.
Even though Joseph and Brown will get the headlines for Japan attacking play, it has been the scrum where the Brave Blossoms have enhanced under their tenure.
Shin Hasegawa is the man responsible for their Japanese scrum. Cutting a figure in a suit and tie on the end of the seat on Sunday of Japan, the former brace is not the type of person youd wish to bump into down a subtropical Tokyo street.
Having played in the 1999 World Cup Joseph for Japan, Hasegawa realised that competitions overpowered the Japan scrum.
After turning them into a title contender using all the scrum from the league and overhauling Top League group Yamaha Jubilo, Joseph from 2016 called upon Hasegawa to help the Brave Blossoms scrummaging.
Conscious that Japanese players will generally be of greater stature than their competitors, Hasegawa has contrasted his scrummaging technique with Japan to a punch, in whichhitting quicker will cause more effect thanpunching harder.
His breakthrough came in June 2017 in just two Tests against Ireland.
Japan were overpowered in the scrum at the first Test. However, a shift in the angle of this hooker watched the Brave Blossoms compete. It was the Japan forwards realised his ability.
South Africa fans with painful memories of 2015 will likely be happy to remind Japan that lightning doesnt strike twice.
The Brave Blossoms will certainly enhance their chances of maintaining another tier-one scalp and have beaten Scotland and Ireland in Pool A.
The rematch of this Brighton miracle comes just 44 days following the teams met at a match, with the Springboks cantering into a 41-7 victory on that occasion.
This was far in the situation Though the margin of success that evening in Kumagaya would signal that a same-sex event.
Japan enjoyed as much territory and won twice as several rucks, outstripping the resistance in every statistic from breaks.
The area was with the visitors more ecological than the hosts.
Japan will be keen to make amends for your defeat a month.
Their line speed was perfected over the course of their four successes, with the managing skills of centers Ryota Nakamura and Timothy Lafaele paramount to Fukuoka and Matsushima being granted attacking chances.
Never has rugby received this amount of exposure. The states robustly newspaper market has plastered white and the red of Japan all whilst tv recordings have been obliterated for Brave Blossoms games.
Sundays win from Scotland watched 53.7percent of the country tune in, making it the most viewed television programme of the year domestically.
Viewership has raised game-on-game to get Japan matches with the audience more than double that of the match of Sunday.
Rugby has captured the hearts of the nation.
When uttered around sporting occasions the term heritage can be tarnished with an awareness of platitude. This is uncharted territory for football, whose job it is to ensure that these fans are not currently after the sport for a six weeks every four decades.
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