In Pool D action on Sunday at the Stadium de Toulouse, Japan secured a commanding 42-12 victory over Chile, earning a valuable bonus point in the process. Second-row standout Amato Fakatava shone with a brace of tries for Japan.
Chilean fly-half Rodrigo Fernandez etched his name in the history books by notching Chile’s inaugural Rugby World Cup try. However, Fakatava swiftly responded with his first try, and winger Jone Naikabula added another shortly after Chilean prop Matias Dittus was sent to the sin bin.
Chile’s troubles deepened when captain Martin Sigren was also sin-binned just before halftime, leaving them with 14 players. Fakatava capitalized on this advantage, bagging another try to grant Japan a 21-7 lead at halftime.
Dylan Riley, a center for the Brave Blossoms, also found himself in the sin bin, and Chile’s number eight, Alfonso Escobar, reduced the deficit with their second try. However, Japan extended their lead with additional scores from flanker Michael Leitch, inside-center Ryoto Nakamura, and substitute second-row Warner Dearns.
Fakatava, awarded the Mastercard Player of the Match, acknowledged the tough start to their campaign, with formidable matches against England, Samoa, and Argentina on the horizon. He expressed his delight at participating in his first-ever World Cup, describing it as “unbelievable.”
Japan’s captain, Yutaka Nagare, emphasized the significance of their triumph in the vibrant atmosphere of Toulouse. He lauded the fans for their unwavering support and acknowledged the challenge posed by Chile’s physicality while praising his team’s execution of their game plan.
Brave Blossoms’ head coach, Jamie Joseph, was content with the bonus-point win, especially after Chile closed the gap to just nine points early in the second half. He commended Chile’s spirited performance and resilience but underlined his team’s ability to maintain their composure under pressure.
On the opposing side, Chile’s head coach, Pablo Lemoine, felt that a lack of experience hindered his team in the final quarter, allowing Japan to score three more tries. He recognized that his team had performed well for 60 minutes but admitted that they faltered in managing the game’s latter stages, while praising Japan’s efficiency in closing out the match.