Finn Russell Japan: Rugby World Cup quarter-final spot gives fans reason to smile after Typhoon Hagibis

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Finn Russell Japan players bow to the crowd

Japan players bowed to the crowd after beating Scotland to reach the World Cup quarter-finals

Red and white stripes everywhere, dogs in rugby shirts, wigs, paper scrum caps and a smile. Always a smile.

Japan may have qualified for a first World Cup quarter-final by beating Scotland but their fans long ago sealed their place as the best in the tournament.

It has not been an easy 48 hours for the country. Japan’s biggest typhoon in 61 years tore through several regions on Saturday, leaving at least 23 people dead.

But on Sunday morning, the skies had cleared, the sun shone and Japan showed the resilience it takes to live in a country constantly battered by natural disasters.

Among rugby fans, talk turned to whether the team’s decisive World Cup match against Scotland would go ahead or not.

Videos on social mediaon Saturday had already shown the Japan team wading through knee-high water to get to the field at their flooded training ground.

Away from the pitch, the Scottish Rugby Union had made their feelings clear on a possible cancellation and Japan head coach Jamie Joseph demanded more respect for his side, saying they were desperate to play too.

Images on the news of roads submerged in flood water and houses with roofs blown off made play seem impossible and submerged flood plains around the stadium did not look promising either.

There was no need for doubt given the ingenuity of the Japanese, though. The stadium was built on stilts and so was safe. The game would go ahead.

Some may have questioned the decision to bring the tournament to a country where such extreme weather can make matches unplayable, but the scenes at Yokohama should surely put those thoughts out of people’s minds.

Fans flocked to the 72,000-capacity ground hours before kick-off and the scene they created was the ray of joy the country needed after the typhoon.

Japan supporters have rallied around

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