Japan ‘disappointed’ after blowing France chance
Japan are “disappointed” but happy with their progress after coming within a missed conversion of causing a huge upset by beating France on French soil, forward Wimpie Van der Walt said.
Japan, who will host the 2019 World Cup, held France to a 23-23 draw at U Arena in Paris on Saturday and would have won if fly-half Yu Tamura had not missed a seemingly simple late kick.
“We wanted to win but France are a very good team so to get a draw is very good for Japan’s rugby,” Van der Walt said.
“It’s probably the best result so far this year,” the 28-year-old South African-born player added.
“I’m happy because it looks like all the guys gave their best.
“We want to be in the world’s top eight, we want to win in order to move up in the world rankings, so we’re disappointed but we also gave our best.”
The Japan team coached by former All Black Jamie Joseph outscored France — currently in a slump — by three tries to two and the promising performance built on the 39-6 victory against Tonga a week earlier.
“We are very happy with this tour, with a win (over Tonga) and a draw,” Joseph said.
“But we are disappointed with this draw, we thought we could win and you could see that in the way we played.”