Rugby World Cup 2019: Japan beat Russia in tournament opener

Winger Kotaro Matsushima scored a hat-trick as Japan opened the Rugby World Cup with a 30-10 victory over Russia on Friday.

Players from Japan admitted they were nervous before the tournament and it showed early on as Russia scored the tournament's first try through winger Kirill Golosnitskiy in the fourth minute.

Man of the Match Matsushima replied with Japan's first try seven minutes later, but it was not until he went over for his second just before the break that the error-prone home side took the lead at 12-7.

Flanker Pieter Labuschagne added another try after the break and 12 minutes from time Matsushima got his third to secure the bonus point that might be key to Japan's hopes of advancing from Pool A, which also includes Ireland, Scotland and Samoa.

Japan's next game is against the world number one Ireland in Fukuroi City on September 28, a match the hosts will be desperate to win if they wish to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time.

The Russians take on Samoa in Kumagaya on September 24.

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