Finn Russell Japan vs Scotland: The Brave Blossoms have once again knocked rugby off its axis – and made more history in the process

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What a watershed moment for the game. It’s the greatest rugby shock since, well, the last time the Brave Blossoms knocked us all off our axis.

Japan are through to the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the first time ever. To face South Africa. After seeing off Ireland and destroying Scotland in their pool. In 2019 those are sentences that make total sense.

From the start of this competition, we knew Japanese fans were dedicated. They proved it again against Ireland. But if there was any blue in the crowd here in Yokohama, it was because there were a tiny number of empty navy seats around the ground. 

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The national anthem was haunting. The red and white-wrapped crowd chanted in unison. Then their team uncorked a bottle of magic. 

Whatever you have heard about the slick, pacey rugby the Scots like, for over 20 minutes they were made witness to an exhibition of the quickest rugby in the game. For a large chunk of this game Japan played at an unprecedented speed.

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It was more than that, though. Four years ago, when the Brave Blossoms defeated the Springboks in Brighton, they showed a glint of steeliness to go with the pace. But there were long period where that Eddie Jones-coached team was up against it and they performed the most glorious heist in winning that opener in 2015. 

Here they did something possibly more impressive. After the Scots scored first, through a converted Finn Russell try, this

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