20 Sep 2019

Rugby World Cup 2019 begins: The atmosphere in Japan

From Checkpoint, 5:10 pm on 20 September 2019

After the build-up and preamble the Rugby World Cup finally kicks off on Friday night with the opening ceremony and the first match between hosts Japan and Russia in Tokyo.

The game is a sell-out, as is most of the tournament, and the Japanese are hoping home advantage will count as they seek to make the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time.

Their coach is former All Black and proud New Zealander Jamie Joseph and while they're expected to easily account for Russia, the Brave Blossoms aren't used to being favourites.

Japan halfback Yutaka Nagare admits he and some of the other Brave Blossoms players are feeling the nerves.

However Japan assistant coach, another former All Black in Tony Brown, says the All Blacks have helped confidence levels for his team.

It's a huge occasion for the team from the host nation - but Brown says the players nerves will be eased thanks to a recent match against his countrymen.

Rugby reporter Joe Porter is outside Tokyo Stadium in the fan zone and joins Lisa Owen with the details.