Finn Russell A deserving Japan reaches first Rugby World Cup quarterfinal

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YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Japan got the chance to prove it was a worthy Rugby World Cup quarterfinalist and took it bravely with a 28-21 win over Scotland on Sunday to bring some joy to a host country reeling from a ferocious typhoon.

The game that almost didn’t happen because of the destruction caused overnight Typhoon Hagibis become a World Cup classic, with Michael Leitch’s Japan lineup holding on to sweep Pool A and earn a shot at South Africa next week. And it has form against the two-time champion, after producing the so-called Miracle of Brighton to upset the Springboks in 2015.

“It’s a tough time at the moment with the typhoon,” Leitch said. “Everyone who is suffering with the typhoon, this game was all for you.”

“Today was more than just a game for us,” the inspirational captain added.

Japan is into the knockout stage for the first time, fittingly in the first Rugby World Cup staged in Asia.

“I’m incredibly proud. From the very start, we played with our heart,” Leitch said. “Today was nothing about skill, it was all about emotion and physicality and we showed that. We are representing Asia, we are representing Japan.”

After a stirring comeback, Scotland missed the quarterfinals for only the second time and will go home with its streak of seven wins over Japan end

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