Japan vs Chile Prediction and Betting Tips
🏈 Rugby World Cup 2023 Match Preview
⏰ 10 September 2023 - 21:00 AEST
🏟 Stadium - Stadium Municipal (Toulouse)
Japan’s national rugby team has so far failed to live up to the promise that emerged from their incredible run to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) on home soil, perhaps in part due to not participating annually in a Tier 1 competition such as the Six Nations or Rugby Championship. A COVID-enforced absence of 20 months following the World Cup certainly didn’t help them build upon that foundation, though the Brave Blossoms have been competitive enough against elite opposition in recent years to ensure they should continue to get high profile fixtures in future years.
Holding both France and the All Blacks to single-digit winning margins in the second half of 2022 illustrates that, at their best, they could get the better of Pool D favourites England and Argentina. But a particularly concerning 2023 where they couldn’t defeat Tier 2 Samoa (22-24), lost heavily to Fiji (12-35) and got bulldozed after half-time by Italy in their final warm-up game (21-42) also reveals that head coach Jamie Joseph has a lot of work to do as he nears the end of his stint.
Whilst the New Zealand-Japan dual player will always be remembered for their stellar performance in 2019, Joseph would certainly wish to leave a greater more recent legacy than overseeing the team slip from tenth to 14th in the world rankings prior to a 2023 RWC failure, particularly as Japan are jostling for more regular and meaningful competition with other Tier 1 sides outside of RWC years.
The thought of Argentina, England and Japan all finishing the pool stage with W3 L1 records is not a farfetched proposition given their inconsistency over the last 12 months, so bonus points against debutantes Chile could make all the difference in the world. The rank no. 22 South Americans, who were an almost irrelevant 29th at the start of the 2019 RWC, booked their place in France at the expense of the USA with a thrilling two-legged home and away playoff by avenging a one-point loss at home with a two-point victory in the USA.
Former Uruguayan player and manager Pablo Lemoine leads a side that has been described as “gritty” by Japanese defence coach John Mitchell. Lemoine has made some particularly interesting selections throughout 2023, operating a fluid and mobile front five stacked with utility-type players and picking six forwards on his eight-man bench in an attempt to outmuscle and tie down Japan to thwart their dangerous running game. Their team could be best described as “a family affair”, with an astounding four sets of brothers! Two of those pairs, twins Alfonso (number eight) and Diego (hooker) Escobar and twins Clemente (lock) and Domingo (centre) Saavedra making Lemoine’s first starting XV.
Chilean rugby fans back home will be enjoying a historic moment over their early morning breakfast, but their four upcoming games could be a particularly ugly initiation into World Cup rugby. Narrow losses to Namibia (26-28) and Uruguay (25-26) confirmed their place as one of the rank outsiders of the competition, and were the two most recent of five consecutive losses with RWC 2023 participants.
Players to watch: Legendary Japanese back Kotaro Matsushima will be participating in his third RWC and has scored in four separate RWC matches over his career, including against Russia, Samoa and Scotland in 2019. Chile’s Santiago Videla found the line in each of Chile’s two aforementioned RWC qualifiers against the USA.
- Ten of Chile’s last 13 matches produced at least 50 total points.
- This is the opening match in Pool D for both teams. The winner will take early momentum in the group.
- Japan are ranked 14th in the world while Chile are ranked 22nd. This is Chile's first ever Rugby World Cup.
- The teams have never played each other before. This will be their first ever meeting.
- Japan famously reached the quarter-finals at the 2019 Rugby World Cup on home soil. They will look to advance from the pool stage again.
- Chile qualified for the World Cup by defeating the USA in a playoff series. They are the lowest ranked team at the tournament.
- Japan coach Jamie Joseph has been in charge since 2016. He guided them during the 2019 World Cup success.
- Chile are coached by Pablo Lemoine who previously played rugby for Uruguay. This is his first World Cup as coach.
- Japan have lost 5 of their last 6 matches in 2022-23. Their form leading in has been poor.
- Chile have 5 sets of brothers in their squad including two sets of twins. They are close knit.
- The match will be played at Stadium de Toulouse in France. The conditions should suit Japan's running style.
💡 Match Prediction:
Japan should have too much quality across the park for Chile who are making their Rugby World Cup debut. I expect Japan's slick backs like Matsushima to carve Chile open and help them to a comfortable 28 point win.
Chile will be gritty but I see Japan scoring 5+ tries in a high-scoring match. Over 52.5 total points is worth a wager based on Chile's recent matches involving 50+ total points. Matsushima is Japan's main strike weapon out wide and can grab the first try. Back Japan to win by 13-39 points for the best value.
- Japan to win
- Japan by 28 points
- Final score: Japan 45 - Chile 17
- Japan to win by 13-39 points margin at odds of $2.00
- Over 52.5 total match points at odds of $1.83
- Kotaro Matsushima (Japan) first try scorer at odds of $5.50
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