Published: 15:17 | 11/9/19

Japan targeting World Cup triumph

Japan captain Michael Leitch believes that the host nation’s remarkable improvement over the past few years marks them out as potential tournament winners.

New Zealand-born Leitch, who moved to Japan aged 15, has captained the Japanese side for the past five years and believes he has seen a remarkable turnaround in that time.

A try scorer in Japan's shock win over South Africa in the 2015 World Cup, he believes that the Pacific Nations Cup holders have what it takes to handle the pressure that comes with being the host nation and could even go all the way to glory.

"I love pressure," he said. "It almost gets to the point where you are a pressure junkie where you want to be pressured."

"I think you need to be very brave in what you say; we want to make the quarter-finals but ideally, we want to win the World Cup.

"That is an outrageous statement but it changes your whole behaviour: if you want to make the quarter-finals compared to if you want to win the World Cup it changes your behaviour.

"So I guess we are going to have to try and win the World Cup and see how far we can get.

"The only reason we would ever lose a match would be because we couldn't execute what we aimed to do.

“I don't imagine us losing because the opponent is stronger than us."

Image: Getty

***Remember, eir sport is the only place you can watch ALL 48 RWC 2019 games LIVE.

Japan 2019: The Front Row (6)

14:54 | 22/10/19

We hoped that the run of poor form was merely an aberration or, better still, a ruse to blindside the opposition.

England duo expected to be fit

13:13 | 21/10/19

England duo Jonny May and Jack Nowell are both expected to recover from hamstring injuries in time to face New Zealand on Saturday.

Japan 2019: The Front Row (5)

14:47 | 15/10/19

And then there were eight! It’s quarter-final time in Japan with eight of the world’s best teams primed for battle this weekend.

Wales suffer Navidi blow

12:02 | 21/10/19

Wales will be without Josh Navidi for the remainder of the World Cup after the back row forward suffered a hamstring injury in their narrow quarter-final victor...

Hansen ramps up mind games

12:28 | 15/10/19

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen says he may lay false traps for Ireland to fall into in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final clash in Tokyo.

Top Stories

Jones ready for All Blacks challenge

11:02 | 21/10/19

England head coach Eddie Jones says he is ready for the All Blacks challenge as the two teams prepare to meet in the World Cup semi-final in Yokohama on Saturda...

Rogers extends Dundalk stay

10:28 | 21/10/19

Veteran goalkeeper Gary Rogers has signed a new contract at champions-elect Dundalk that will keep him at the club until the end of next season.

What’s in the eir sport pack?

We’ve got heartstopping action, with all 48 games from the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Guinness PRO14 , SSE Airtricity League,  Allianz Leagues GAA, Wimbledon, Roland Garros, Golf, and much more.