After capturing the imagination of a nation with a spectacular run, the World Cup dream for Japan came to an end last night after a 26-3 loss to SA.
For four weeks, the Brave Blossoms held the hopes of a nation as they battled their way to their first ever quarter-final at Tokyo Stadium.
Drawing in record crowds and television audiences, World Rugby will have a lot to thank the Japan side for building the hype for the first Asian Rugby World Cup.
Fans have turned out in their thousands to support their home side and those fans were left in tears as their hopes of making history to become the first Asian team in the semi-finals were dashed.
The crowd clapped and cheered their team as they ceded defeat giving them one final moment of glory as they exited the world cup.
Clearly disappointed to not be in the next round, captain Michael Leitch praised his team and coach Jamie Joseph for their efforts during the tournament saying his team will only get stronger.
“Extremely proud of what this team’s done. Jamie, he’s done an excellent job with the team, and the fans and the country – I think we’ve done them proud.
“To represent Asia and the tier 2 countries I’m sure they’ll be proud of us as well.”
Joseph said in a post-match interview that if it weren’t for the fans and the country backing his team, they wouldn’t have been where they were last night.
“We really proud of what we’ve achieved at the World Cup.”
The team bows out of the tournament in sixth place.