2019 RWC hosts, Japan, will open this edition by playing Russia on Friday 20th Sep, 2019 at the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo from 19:45 local time. Russia who will be making a 2nd Rugby WC appearance will be looking a first ever win in the tournament having finished winless and bottom of the pool when they last featured in the 2011 World Cup. On the other hand, Japan will be looking to navigate past the group stage for the first time in 32 years having failed to do so in the past 8 consecutive tournaments.

Japan vs Russia Rugby Rugby World Cup 2019 Kickoff Time, Dates, Venue, What Channel is the Game On

Most Recent Game

These two teams last met in the 2018 November Internationals for a 2019 RWC dress rehearsal game which saw Japan leave it late to claim a 32-27 victory. Japan who gave away a lot of 1st half penalties had to stage a successful comeback to save their blushes. Kushnarev and Gaisin scored 3 and 2 penalties respectively with Ostrushko and Sel’skiy scoring one try each for Russia. Japan on the other hand scored 2 penalties via Matsuda and Tamura while Fukuoka and Tui crossed the line to reduce the deficit. Japan’s captain, Michael Leitch, scored two decisive tries to give the RWC 2019 hosts a sigh of relief.

Head to Head

Japan and Russia have met once in a competitive rugby match in history. Japan won that game by 32-27 that was played in Gloucester in England.

Key Players

Japan’s captain, Michael Leitch, made a timely return to the squad after being sidelined for months due to injury meaning the Brave Blossoms will be full house when they line out to face the Bears. Another player to watch for the Japanese outfit will definitely be Yu Tamura who is in good kicking form ahead of the global showdown.

Russia will be relying on Sale Sharks prop Valery Morozov and Andrei Ostrikov to bring much needed experience and class to the Bears as they look to crash the Japanese party in Tokyo in the opening matchday of the RWC. Equally important to the Russian squad in this game will be Kirill Gotovtsev and their captain Vasily Artemyev.

Match Prediction

The Brave Blossoms have averaged 18.79 in all Rugby World Cup games with a 14% win rate having won 4, drawn 2, and lost 22 of the 28 WC games played. The Bears on the other hand have an average of 14.25 points per game in rugby World Cup games but they have lost all the 4 games that they took part in.

Japan come into this game in very good form having won the past 4 straight games and lost just once in 5 games. Meanwhile, Russia has won twice in the past 5 games with the most recent being an 85-15 loss to Italy.

Prediction: Japan to win

Japan 21-14 Russia