January 31 – This Day in Rugby

Japan Plays First International Match

Japan starting playing rugby in 1874 but it was on this day in rugby history in 1932 that the Japanese national team played their first international rugby match.  The Cherry Blossoms beat Canada 9-8.  The game was also the first international match for Canada.

The game was organized by a Canadian trade organization based in Japan who arranged for the national team to make the trip.

Japan is traditionally the strongest Asian side. They have played in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural event in 1987 with their best finish coming in 1991 when they finished in third place in their group. Japan will be the first Asian side and the first non tier one side to host the Rugby World Cup when they have the honor in 2019.

Rugby Birthdays

1940 – Kitch Christie, South African rugby union coach (d. 1998)

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