Rugby World Cup: Japan unites around its rugby heroes

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Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Japan’s Kenki Fukuoka scores the crucial go-ahead try in his side’s epic 19-12 victory over Ireland in the Rugby World Cup Pool A game in Shizuoka.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Irish fans react as they watch their side slide to a shock defeat to host Japan.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Ireland players Gary Ringrose (l) and Jack Carty (r) compete for a high ball during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game between Japan and Ireland.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Yutaka Nagare of Japan is tackled by James Ryan of Ireland during the hard-fought encounter

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Ireland’s centre and first half try scorer Garry Ringrose is tackled by Japan’s lock Luke Thompson as the action hots up in Shizuoka.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Argentina’s fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta looks on during his side’s 28-12 win over Tonga at the Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Higashiosaka.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Argentina’s Santiago Carreras and Tonga’s Viliami Lolohea compete for the ball during the Rugby World Cup Pool C game.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Argentina’s Pablo Matera runs with the ball during their game against Tonga.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Benjamin Urdapilleta of Argentina kicks the ball under pressure of Zane Kapeli of Tonga his side’s bonus-point victory.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Max Katijenko of Namibia competes for a lineout with Franco Mostert of South Africa during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game between South Africa and Namibia at City of Toyota Stadium.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Thomasau Forbes of Namibia looks on from the ground during his side’s nine-try defeat to South Africa.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Makazole Mapimpi of South Africa evades a tackle from Chad Plato of Namibia to go on and score his team’s seventh try.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

South Africa’s Elton Jantjies runs past Namibia’s Eugene Jantjies during the one-sided match.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

The USA were beaten 45-7 by England at the Rugby World Cup in its opening game at Japan 2019. Shaun Davies passes the ball during the Group C match at Kobe Misaki Stadium in Kobe.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

England ran in seven tries, including two from Joe Cokanasiga.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Elliot Daly of England is tackled by Blaine Scully, who is captain of the USA team.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

The USA did get points on the board with Bryce Campbell of USA going over to score late in the game.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Earlier on September 26, Italy beat Canada 48-7 at the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium in Fukuoka.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Canada’s wing Jeff Hassler (back) tackles Italy’s full back Matteo Minozzi during Group B game.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Italy ran in seven tries during the game, though Canada spurned a number of try scoring opportunities.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Canada’s fly-half Peter Nelson hands over the ball in a ruck.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Tommaso Benvenuti of Italy competes for the ball with Ben Lesage of Canada.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

The 2019 Rugby World Cup delivered its first major shock as minnows Uruguay held on for a historic 30-27 victory over Fiji.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Fiji was expected to comfortably beat its South American opponents but Uruguay staged one the tournament’s biggest upsets in World Cup history.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Uruguay’s wing Nicolas Freitas is tackled by Fiji’s scrum-half Nikola Matawalu during the Pool D match.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Mesulame Dolokoto grounds the ball to score his side’s first try but Fiji made too many mistakes in the game.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Local children cheer with both Fiji and Uruguay flags at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, a venue built in memory of those lost in the 2011 tsunami.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

The loss means Fiji might struggle to progress to the quarterfinals after also losing its opener against Australia.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Ed Fidow celebrates with his Samoan team mates after scoring his sides third try during its win over Russia.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

School children attended the match at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

The match was a feisty affair with Samoa fortunate not to have had two players sent off.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Dwayne Polataivao tackles Yury Kushnarev during the Pool A game between Russia and Samoa.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Wales was forced to work hard for its win against Georgia but produced a first half masterclass to clinch the win.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Georgia’s wing Giorgi Kveseladze, right, tackles Wales’ fly-half Dan Biggar during their Pool D match between at the City of Toyota Stadium on September 23.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Wales faced Georgia in its opening game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Its passion sometimes proved too much and referee Luke Pearce showed Georgia’s Jaba Bregvadze a yellow card for foul play.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Wales celebrate after scoring yet another try against its opposition which proved it was more than capable of competing on a physical level.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Ireland proved to be too strong for its opponents who failed to match the Irish intensity.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

James Ryan of Ireland wins a line out during his side’s 27-3 win over Scotland.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

An Ireland supporter looks on prior to his side’s opening game.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Italy cruised to a simple bonus-point victory over Namibia but only after a scare from the part-timers.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

England’s centre Manu Tuilagi celebrates with fly-half George Ford after scoring a try.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

England’s Anthony Watson juggles the ball.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

New Zealand players perform the Haka prior to their Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game against South Africa.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

New Zealand’s wing Sevu Reece catches the ball.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Peceli Yato of Fiji takes on Reece Hodge of Australia. At one point in the second half, Fiji led 21-12.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Christian Lealiifano of Australia holds on to the ball during the Rugby World Cup match between Australia and Fiji in Sapporo, Japan, on September 21.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Waisea Nayacalevu of Fiji, right, beats Christian Lealifano to the ball to score a second-half try. However, two tries from Australia hooker Tolu Latu in five minutes ensured the Wallabies avoided a huge upset.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Argentina’s lock Guido Petti Pagadizabal (L) tackles France’s scrumhalf Antoine Dupont. France survived a remarkable second-half comeback from Argentina to record a thrilling 23-21 win.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

France’s Virimi Vakatawa looks to pass the ball to a teammate. France led 20-3 at half-time.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Japan’s Matsushima, left, celebrates with Yutaka Nagare, center, after scoring one of his three tries.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Russia’s Andrei Ostrikov, left, competes for the ball with Japan’s James Moore during their Rugby World Cup match in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, September 20.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

Russia scored first and led 7-0, before Japan gradually grew into the match. Kotaro Matsushima of Japan touches down for a try under pressure from Vasily Artemyev of Russia, but it is disallowed.

Rugby World Cup 2019 in pictures

The match between Japan and Russia was preceded by the tournament’s opening ceremony.

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