After a very nervy start from Japan as they managed to get over their first hurdle by beating Russia 30-10 on Friday at the Tokyo Stadium.
The Rugby World Cup hosts managed to score four tries, claiming a winning bonus point, thanks largely to the finishing ability of Korato Matsushima and the sheer brilliance of Lappies Labuschagne.
Here are our winners and losers of today’s exciting encounter!
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Winner: Korato Matsushima
✅ Hattrick in the #RWC2019 opener— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) September 20, 2019
✅ First 🇯🇵 player to score a hattrick at a RWC
✅ Joint top scorer in RWCs for Japan with 4 tries
✅9 tries in his last 7 games
Korato Matsushima is some form🔥 🔥 🔥 #JPNvRUS pic.twitter.com/h3ldFXCJOn
The Pretoria-born winger scored a fantastic hat-trick in the opening encounter and now has nine in his last seven for the national team.
Matsushima beat seven defenders, provided three clean breaks and had 100% tackle success rate.
Loser: Yu Tamura
There was a lot expected from the from the 30-year-old fly-half but sadly it seems the pressure got a bit to much on the night. Tamura on kicked 60% of his kicks and his tackle success rate was 43% which is not great by any international standard.
He was also charged down early on the game putting the hosts under even more pressure and eventually leading to a Russian try.
No Japanese player under Jamie Joseph tenure as head coach as started more than Tamura, so it's unlikely that he will be missing from the starting XV against the likes of Scotland and Ireland but an assured performance by Rikiya Matsuda will keep the pressure on the experienced playmaker.
Winner: Lappies Labuschagne
The 30-year-old had a monster game for his adopted country and also got himself on the scoresheet.
Labuschagne made six carries and then on defence managed to make 16 tackles in the match. He was accurate on defence making all but one of his tackles and forced two turnovers.
He made 61 running metres from his six carries, although most of those 61 metres came from this brilliant piece of play to score.
Simply superb from Labuschange 👏https://t.co/aebV7YV0OD— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) September 20, 2019
The final score immediately shows that Russia are in fact the losers today, despite fronting up and putting in a performance that they can be proud of.
However, a number of Lyn Jones' men looked out on their feet in the latter stages of the game and they will need to recover quickly if they hope to avoid a bigger scoreline against Samoan team playing their first game of the competition next Tuesday.
Loser: Will Tupou
An early blunder from Tupu, following Tamura's charged down kick, direcetly led to Russia's first try of the game.
Tupou did pick up a try assist but was far from as lethal as he normally is. With Kenki Fukuoka expected to return soon and the likes of Lomano Lemeki and Kotaro Matsushima stepping up, Tupou could find himself outside of the starting XV.
Matsushima has played at fullback numerous times for both the Sunwolves and Japan and would not be out of place against the likes of Ireland and Scotland later in the competition.
Winner: Yury Kushnarev
He might have been on the losing side but really put in a decent kicking display which should count for something. Kushnarev had 100% kicking success rate and gained 22 metres on attack. His tackling was certainly questionable but one couldn't have asked for more from him.