World Cup hosts Japan move to best ever world ranking position

SABC News Japan Reuters 1 - World Cup hosts Japan move to best ever world ranking position

Rugby World Cup hosts, Japan, have moved to a best ever seventh place on the world rankings after advancing to the quarter-finals of the event. Japan made history on Sunday when they beat Scotland to become the first Asian team ever to qualify for the knock-out stage.

South Africa, who will face Japan in the quarters, remain in fifth place, while New Zealand (All Blacks) still top the rankings. Japanese supporters celebrated their team’s achievement of making rugby history.

Some believe a final against New Zealand is a real possibility.

The epic 28-21 victory boosted Japan into rugby’s top eight international teams and they believe the best is yet to come.

“Looking back, even since 2011, this team has grown so much and it is scary to think about how far this team could actually grow. The last four games, we are getting better each time,” says Michael Leitch who is the captain of the Japan rugby team.

The Japanese received praise from all quarters. They also grabbed the attention of the world champions.

“Without a doubt they’d have to be considered like they are playing and performing like a tier one nation. They’re now in the top eight in the world on performance and they’re playing quality rugby so I think Japan should be very, very proud of them,” says Steve Hansen who is the All Blacks coach.

The Brave Blossoms are now ahead of France, Scotland and Argentina on the world rankings.

They face the Springboks in Tokyo on Sunday and Kick off is at quarter past 12 South African time.

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