Rugby-Pride prevails despite defeat for World Cup debutants Chile

  • Rugby
  • Sunday, 10 Sep 2023

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Pool D - Japan v Chile - Stadium Municipal de Toulouse, Toulouse, France - September 10, 2023 Chile's Jose Ignacio Larenas in action REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Chile showed no signs of nerves as entered their first World Cup against Japan, even taking an early lead before their opponents' experience made the difference in their Pool D match on Sunday.

Japan prevailed 42-12 with six converted tries, but Chile, one of three South American teams in the tournament in France, played boldly throughout despite picking up two yellow cards.

"We gave everything and we can be proud of our performance. We gave a good fight, maybe not right to the last minute, but we really enjoyed it, which is a really important part of it as well," captain Martin Sigren said.

"There were little opportunities that you have to take advantage of and that is where we lost it."

Chile got off to a stunning start and thanks to a mix of flair and good fortune, were awarded a try when flyhalf Rodrigo Fernandez dotted down after pouncing on a loose ball in the sixth minute.

Japan, however, scored 21 unanswered points to take control of a physical encounter in searing heat and they had too much experience to let it slide, even after number eight Alfonso Escobard reduced the arrears with a second try that took Toulouse's stadium to the boil.

There were no regrets on Chile's side.

"It was tough but it was a great start," coach Pablo Lemoine said.

"It is difficult to play your first game of a World Cup, especially against Japan. They are a team with a lot of ambition.

"We were OK for 60 minutes but in the last 20 minutes we missed some experience to manage the game and Japan were amazing with their efficiency."

Chile next face Samoa on Saturday and have less than a week to recover.

"It will be a physical battle and we need to let our bodies recover," said Sigren.

"It will be a short week compared to this one but we have to get ready."

(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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