Japan’s winning the Rugby World Cup Match was a bit shocking against two-time world champion, South Africa. The team’s success will forever change the face of rugby in Japan.
The lead scorer in the game was, undeniably, no other than Ayumu Goromaru (五郎丸歩). His kicking style served him very well.
Ayumu Goromaru was born on March 1, 1986 in Fukuoka, Japan. He started playing rugby when he was just 3 years old. His first memory was wearing a jersey and chasing a ball. At the age of 19 years old, he made his debut against Uruguay and was then branded as the “face of the future” in Japan Times. However, after 2 more caps, he fell out of favor under former coach, Jean-Pierre Elissalde. He only returned to the side 4 years later with John Kirwan as the new coach. He was also left out of Japan’s 2011 World Cup. After the event, Eddie Jones took over as coach, and Goromaru was brought back into the fold.
On September 19, in Brighton, Goromaru’s international redemption was complete. He scored 24 of his side’s 34 points which produced the biggest shock in World Cup History. South Africa has won the World Cup twice while Japan has never won over a decade. Japan’s last win dates back to 1991 against Zimbabwe. Rugby is not widely known in the country, so Japan’s victory came as a shock to the Japanese. Official stores closed early due to high demand for Japan’s shirts while Goromaru and his teammates were subjected to heightened media attention. The timing could not have been much better as Japan will be hosting the next World Cup tournament in 2019; away from the traditional superpowers of world rugby.
Rugby in Japan has never had big exposure but by beating South Africa, there has been a big boom in Japan right now which is a very positive path to 2019.