TOWNSVILLE, Australia — Japan may have lost its second game in the 2003 Rugby World Cup but the Cherry Blossoms produced a performance against France that surpassed even their heroics of last week when they lost to Scotland, but won over a nation.

To score 29 points against one of the top rugby nations in the world was an outstanding performance and one that coach Shogo Mukai claimed was perhaps the finest Japan has ever produced.

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