TOKYO, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Japan survived an early scare to win 30-10 in the opening game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup here Friday evening.
After going down to an early Russian try in the fifth minute after a couple of handling errors, Japan soon bounced back five minutes later with a Kotaro Matsushima try to bring the score back to 7-5 to Russia.
Matsushima was sharp all game and managed to kick off his tournament to a dream start after the winger managed to score a hat trick and was cheered off at the sold-out Tokyo national stadium at full time.
Matsushima scored his second of the night in the 38th minute after finding himself in space out wide on his wing and duly obliged and went over.
By the halfway mark, the Russian fitness was failing and spaces were opening up across the pitch that was constantly being exploited by the Japanese backs. At the break, the score stood at 12-7 to the hosts.
In the second half, it was one-way traffic. Six minutes into the half, Japanese flanker Pieter Labuschagne ripped the ball out of the Russian arms 22 meters out and ran in to score against a tired defense.
In the 68th minute, Matsushima secured his third try and finished off any Russian attempts at resistance.
The game finished at a canter with Japan slowing play at cutting off any Russian counter-attacks, as the Japanese protected their lead and fourth try bonus point.