Rugby World Cup 2019: All the action as host Japan took on Russia

9:52 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

That's all for now

So it's thank you from the Brave Blossoms and thank you from us for following our updates.

Lots more rugby to come with three big games on the tournament's second day: Australia v Fiji, France v Argentina and -- the biggest game of the group stage -- South Africa v New Zealand. What a treat.

Have a great weekend.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

9:39 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

We're off

A night to remember for Japan and hat-trick hero Kotaro Matsushima -- the first player from his country to bag a treble at the Rugby World Cup.

You can read our report on the Brave Blossoms' victory over Russia by clicking through the tweet below.

The first World Cup on Asian soil is up and running.

Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images
Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images

9:20 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

Letting his skills do the talking

Kotaro Matsushima is a man of few words, so it's a good job he does all his talking out on the pitch.

The wing was deservedly given the Player of the Match award after becoming the first Japanese to score a hat-trick at a Rugby World Cup.

Here's what he, humbly, had to say, crediting his teammates for his treble of tries.

Kotaro Matsushima scores his third try of the match against Russia.
Kotaro Matsushima scores his third try of the match against Russia. Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Most of the job was from the forwards, so I really appreciate it for the three tries. We lost control on the back field so hopefully we can fix that next week.

When asked about his disallowed try in the first half and whether or not he thought he'd got it down, Matsushima said with a grin: "Maybe a fingertip."

9:14 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

Artemyev: 'We were pushing them'

Russian captain Vasily Artemyev was proud of his side's gutsy performance.

Everyone could see that we were playing at the same intensity as Japan. We were pushing them to the edge, we were getting some dividends, maybe we could have scored a couple more penalties if we went for it, but we chose to apply the pressure through set pieces and unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted.

9:08 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

Leitch: 'They really tested us'

Here's Japan captain Michael Leitch after his side's opening victory at the World Cup:

Straight from the kick off, Vasily (Artemyev) and his men put us under extreme pressure with their game plan and physicality. They really tested us today. There were big nerves. With the nerves out the way, we can start looking forward to Ireland. I'm happy, we showed great resilience to not go into our shell and to keep playing.
8:53 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

Final Score: Japan 30-10 Russia

So in the end it wasn't quite as straightforward as predicted for Japan. It was evenly poised at the hour mark before Kotaro Matsushima's third try put the game to bed.

Russia showed moments of promise but didn't have the fitness levels to match Japan's intensity in the closing stages.

Tougher tests lie ahead for the Brave Blossoms, who will need to be at their best to defeat Scotland and Ireland and get out of the pool.

But a four-try bonus point win will satisfy the home fans for now.

Pieter Labuschagne grabs his side's third try.
Pieter Labuschagne grabs his side's third try. Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

8:45 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

FULL TIME

The final whistle blows in Tokyo and in the end it's a comfortable 30-10 victory for Japan.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

8:45 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

Abe's approval

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, decked out in a Cherry Blossoms shirt, clearly likes what he's seeing as the country takes a 30-10 lead over Russia.

However, no sign of counterpart Vladimir Putin having made the trip to support The Bears.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe applauds his country's efforts against Russia.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe applauds his country's efforts against Russia. Stu Forster/Getty Images

8:35 a.m. ET, September 20, 2019

Hat-trick hero

A nice bit of history for Kotaro Matsushima.