Rugby World Cup: Japan women strike blow for recognition in male-dominated game

  • 19/10/2022

Japan loose forward Iroho Nagata was drawn into rugby by her brothers. 

"My two younger brothers were playing rugby since they were three years old, but I was doing classic ballet dance," she said. "When I saw my brothers playing rugby, I thought I can do it better.... I'll be stronger in rugby."

The Japanese women are among the underdogs for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, ranked 13th in the world and ahead of only debutants Fiji. Their best previous finish at the tournament is eighth.

While their male counterparts have slowly - and bravely - risen to become respected opponents on the international stage, the Japan women understand they are at the start of that journey.

"It's my first time being in a World Cup in my life," said first-five Ayasa Otsuka. "To be able to show myself to my parents, I feel very proud about it."

Says flanker Koko Hosokawa: "Being in the World Cup as a national team player, I want to do my best, so that women's rugby will be more popular in Japan."

Watch the video for the full story. Catch the Rugby World Cup live on Spark Sport or free-to-air on Three, or join us at 4:45pm Saturday for live updates of the Black Ferns v Scotland pool encounter