Brave Blossoms proved their ability in the most difficult circumstances with a ferocious performance against Scotland
Andy Bull at the International Stadium Yokohama Sun 13 Oct 2019 18.07 BST
It was a short silence, scarcely a minute, but there was so much in it. All the swirling, clashing, contradictory emotions of a match unlike any other that has ever been played, just hours after Typhoon Hagibis had blown through Japan, while the floodwaters were still high around the ground, the rescue work not finished, the repair work not even begun. No one was even sure exactly who, or how many, the silence was for. They were still counting the victims, and had been all day. At dawn the tally was four, then it climbed to nine. By the time they started the game it was 24, by half time it was 26, and it reached 28 soon after it was over. You’d ask, then, whether they should have even been playing. And World Rugby had exactly that conversation early on Sunday morning. They decided they had to defer to the Japanese members of the local organising committee. Why play sport, why watch it, while there were still so many people missing, when the levees are broken and the rivers are overflowing, when, in Kawasaki, 16 miles to the east of Yokohama, almost a million people had been evacuated in the night, and in Sagamihara, 30 miles to the north, they were still counting how many had died in a mudslide that wiped out a street of houses.