TOKYO, 9 Oct - Second-row James Moore says the aggression of Japan's defence has been key to their success at Rugby World Cup 2019 so far.
The hosts have won three from three and top Pool A ahead of their decisive clash with Scotland on Sunday in Yokohama.
"Jamie (Joseph, Japan 's coach) has brought this team a long way in the last three years since he's been here," said Moore, pictured above after victory against Ireland and, below, in action.
"I'd say physically and mentally we probably are defensively the most aggressive Japan team ever."
Moore, 26, earned his first cap for the Brave Blossoms only in July this year. But he has a team-high 48 tackles after three matches, placing him near the top of the RWC 2019 charts as the pool stage comes to the pointy end. He boasts a 94 per cent success rate.
"I enjoy tackling. I enjoy defence," he said. "I work on it as well so I'm just happy I've been able to go out there making lots of tackles."
Moore, who has played every minute for Joseph in the tournament so far, moved to Japan in 2016 from Queensland in Australia, a rugby league hotbed. League players have a higher tackle zone and wrap up the ball trying to prevent offload, and Moore says his experience playing the other code has been a huge benefit to his game.
"Growing up playing rugby league did help my tackling a lot. It's a different game but in most league games you probably make close to 30 tackles a game," he said.
"That gave me lots of experience and I think I've brought those elements from rugby league and transitioned into rugby union pretty well."
As Japan prepare for their showdown with Scotland, Moore reflected on the characters in his team's second row.
"Thommo (Luke Thompson) is a bit of an old battler. I think he's the oldest at the World Cup and he's still playing awesome," he said. "Uwe (Helu) is like a big truck, he just comes on and runs over people.
"Wimpie (van der Walt) is just himself. I don't know how to explain."
With a coveted last-eight spot just one win away, Moore said it had been work as usual for his team.
"The coaching staff have given us the game plan to win, so it comes down to the players. We just have to go out there and perform," he said.
Moore said he had settled into life in Japan and hopes to keep producing for his adopted country.
"It's a lot different to Queensland. The rugby style is different here. The lifestyle's completely different. But I absolutely love playing rugby over here," he said.
"I don't plan to go back any time soon."
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