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Japan’s rugby dream finally ended on Sunday. The Brave Blossoms lost to South Africa in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. “I take my hat off to the team. We’re really proud of what we have achieved,” said Japan’s head coach Jamie Joseph, and so is everybody else in Japan.

Compared to baseball or soccer, rugby has never been a popular sport in Japan. For the past month since the World Cup opened on Sept. 20, however, millions of Japanese sports fans have converted to rugby. Although overpowered by South Africa, Japan performed well with its high-intensity running style of rugby.

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