The Latest: Japan reaches first World Cup quarterfinal

October 13, 2019

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 24 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

Japan got the chance to prove it was a worthy quarterfinalist and took it bravely with a 28-21 win over Scotland to bring some joy to a host country reeling from a ferocious typhoon overnight.

The tournament host swept Pool A and will play South Africa next week. And it has form against the two-time champion, after producing the so-called Miracle of Brighton to upset the Springboks in 2015.

Scotland goes home.

Winger Kenki Fukuoka scored a try in the first half and touched down again three minutes after the break as Japan secured a four-try bonus point with almost half a game to play at a Yokohama stadium packed with 72,000 people almost entirely wearing red-and-white striped shirts.

The game that almost didn't happen because of Typhoon Hagibis then become a classic. Japan led 21-7 at halftime with three tries after conceding early when Scottish flyhalf Finn Russell strolled through some weak defense in the seventh minute.

It had barely restarted when Fukuoka stripped the ball from Chris Harris and ran away to extend the lead to 28-7.

That's when Scotland threw caution to the wind. Two tries in six minutes to front-rowers Willem Nel and Zander Fagerson narrowed the gap to seven points and set up a tension-filled last 25 minutes.

Both teams threw everything into attack and defended grimly. The Scots repelled 22 phases from Japan on the hour before a relieving penalty.

Three minutes from fulltime, Matsushima accidentally carried the ball back over his line, giving Scotland a five-yard scrum and a chance to equalize. But the Japanese defended their line, won back possession and wound down the clock.

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