Haiku reflections on Japan

Applause for Scotland

Sorry to the Scots

you so deserved to win in

another great match!

Another example of the unpredictable nature of the rugby world cup making it such a joy to watch.   Wow!!   So many great games in this tournament so far.  I hope the world cup final the weekend after next is just as exciting as the two I watched today!!   スコットランド, who along with 南アフリカ,  qualified from Japan’s pool, lost in the dying seconds of their game against the ワルビーズ(オーストラリア), a game anyone watching would feel they should have won.  They were two points ahead up to that point and were about to win.  Ok their carelessness* led to a penalty being awarded against them but even so…  I’m so sorry for them and I wonder if they will ever get a chance like this again.     Most people felt オーストラリア would not just beat them but do so by a large margin – I myself suspected they would win but was hoping it would not be a mauling and was rooting for the Scots and cheering their every try and point. But no, they defied expectations, against a perhaps complacent Australian team.   アルゼンチン beat us, アイルランド , fair and square earlier today (so much for our extra day of rest and our injured players were really missed after all, no disrespect to the players on the field) so アルゼンチン will be facing オーストラリア.  If the boys in navy-blue can scare the Wallabies and only lose by 1 point, then the Pumas definitely can go further and beat them  (how fast are they at running? Wow!) and I will be supporting them.   If it were スコットランド against アルゼンチン I would be happy with whoever won that semifinal as it would have been great to have either a northern hemisphere team or a let’s say ‘new’ southern hemisphere team in the final, and preferably winning it (アルゼンチン are generally more entertaining to watch but スコットランド are obviously good enough and are our Celtic cousins) than one of the usual trio of the Springboks, Wallabies and All-Blacks.  NZ ran riot last night over their opponents フランス in one of those matches where you desperately hoped the clock would magically speed up to put the losers out of their misery.  They were clearly not on the same planet, but  I felt so sorry for certain players, including Michalak, Dusutoir, Parra, Swarvoski le ‘blonde’, Mas and, concerning last night, Picamoles as well.  It is the last world cup for most of these guys, definitely Michalak who was also forced off with a hamstring injury very early on.    Not as sorry as I felt for Scotland who at least played some rugby and almost won but sorry because, as I said before, they are decent when they get themselves together and are usually my alternative top team.

Speaking of sports journalists again, I was kind of amused to see the Springboks captain, and maybe the coach too, reminded post-match (when they won their quarterfinal against another decent team, Wales) of their first-game loss against Japan.   They’ll never be allowed to live that down but they were skilful in their answers, preferring to keep to the here and now.   I’ve nothing against them as such but if any of the above-mentioned trio are going to win, they would not be my first choice.

There are two people generally who have been doing these post-match interviews at the stadium throughout the tournament.   Their questions tend to be very to-the-point but also tend to have little digs built into them, like the above question to South Africa (I applaud that though as it reminds the Springboks and other such teams that they are not infallible).  Another question to another team’s player was ‘you’ll probably have nightmares about this for the rest of your life’.   Hmmm.     Others were blindingly obvious statements put as questions.

Japan can also feel proud that they came third in a pool which was topped by the Springboks, who they managed to beat to send such shockwaves around the rugby world, and the only team they lost to who almost caused a bit of a shock of their own, almost beating the Wallabies, the most all-round well performing team before today in this world cup.

Banzai Japan and Scotland!!

* Update: Scotland did not really ‘give away’ a penalty it seems.  Sorry about that. It was very hard to see but the referee just didn’t bother checking the TMO which a lot of referees have been using a lot of the time over the course of this world cup, and thus may have ‘given away’ a penalty, to Oz, himself. This is under investigation now but I don’t think they can do much about it. I didn’t notice this but apparently the referee  also practically ran off the pitch at the end (for ran, read fled) without shaking hands with any of the players.  Hmmm.  Now we know why!!  I hope there are no more robberies from here to the end of the tournament.

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