TOKYO – Japan scrumhalf Yutaka Nagare admitted that he and some of the other Brave Blossoms players are feeling the nerves ahead of the opening match of the Rugby World Cup against Russia on Friday.
As the team went through their final paces at Tokyo Stadium on Thursday, the excitement and tension was palpable as four years of planning for Jamie Joseph’s side reaches its final stage.
Friday’s match, to open the first tournament held outside the game's traditional heartlands, is expected to draw a record domestic television audience for a Rugby World Cup fixture.
The pressure is on for Japan as hosts even though they are heavy favourites for the clash against lowly ranked Russia.
“So many media have come today - it's going to be a match that's going to get alot of attention,” said Nagare, selected at scrumhalf over Fumiaki Tanaka, a hero of Japan’s win over South Africa four years ago.