- Title: Japan admit to nerves before World Cup opener
- Date: 19th September 2019
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (SEPTEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) JAPAN AND RUSSIA FLAGS FLYING INSIDE TOKYO STADIUM / JAPAN 2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP LOGO JAPAN PLAYERS WARMING-UP FLANKER PIETER LABUSCHAGNE WARMING-UP FLYHALF YU TAMURA WARMING-UP PLAYERS WARMING-UP / CAPTAIN MICHAEL LEITCH WALKING LEITCH WALKING TAMURA AND SCRUMHALF YUTAKA NAGARE THROWING BALL / NAGARE RUNNING AND THEN DRINKING WATER NAGARE ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN SCRUMHALF, YUTAKA NAGARE, SAYING: "First of all, I feel that I am shouldering alot of the responsibility. We are playing in the opening match which is a match that comes with alot of pressure. There's the expectations of the team and also that of the Japanese people so I want to play well. On the actual day, I think I will be nervous but I hope to communicate as best I can with the other players. I want to communicate so that we can bond well and so that I can control the match" RUGBY WORLD CUP LOGO PROP ASAELI AI VALU TRAINING TAMURA AND BACK WILL TUPOU TRAINING NUMBER EIGHT AMANAKI MAFI RUNNING VARIOUS OF HEAD COACH JAMIE JOSEPH SPEAKING TO HIS ASSISTANTS, INCLUDING TONY BROWN (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN SCRUMHALF, YUTAKA NAGARE, SAYING: "So many media have come today-- it's going to be a match that's going to get alot of attention. I will be nervous but this is a dream match so I hope to enjoy and play with confidence" INJURED WINGER KENKI FUKUOKA RUNNING ON SIDE OF TRAINING COACHES TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAPAN ASSISTANT COACH, TONY BROWN, SAYING: "It is always a challenge (to keep lid on nerves). We played South Africa two weeks ago so it has been a long time (waiting) so, like you say, the players are keen to get out there and play. We have got quite an experienced group around our leadership with Leitchy (captain Michael Leitch), Luke Thompson, Fumiaki Tanaka... so those guys have got the team under control around nerves and they understand what they have to do tomorrow night." TAMURA KICKING AND STARTING PRACTICE MATCH VARIOUS OF PRACTICE MATCH UNDERWAY NAGARE SCORING TRY UNDER POSTS HOOKER SHOTA HORIE WALKING LEITCH DIRECTING PLAYERS THEN DRIVING WITH BALL TRAINING UNDERWAY JAPAN AND RUSSIA FLAGS / PLAYERS ON FIELD
- Embargoed: 3rd October 2019 06:33
- Keywords: Rugby Union World Cup Japan Russia Japan 2019 Tokyo Stadium Yutaka Nagare Tony Brown
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001AXBOEV3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: 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 (September 20).
As the team went through their final paces at Tokyo Stadium on Thursday (September 19), 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.
With Japan keen to play a high-tempo match to take the game to Russia, who will prefer to battle it out in the forwards, Nagare's role as tone-setter for the Brave Blossoms will be crucial.
He knows what a key role he has on Friday.
Joseph, who earned 20 caps for New Zealand before also playing for Japan at the 1999 World Cup, knows the experience within his coaching staff will be key to keeping a lid on the players' nerves.
He can call upon former Otago Highlanders head coach Tony Brown, currently with Japan as attack coach, as well as a swathe of experienced players in the squad.
(Production: Jack Tarrant)
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