16 Sep 2011

World Cup match against the All Blacks highlight of Japanese players careers

6:47 pm on 16 September 2011

Inspired rather than overawed is what Japan coach and former All Black winger John Kirwan is hoping his side will be when they play the All Blacks in tonight's World Cup match in Hamilton.

It's just the second time the two sides will have played each other at a World Cup with the Japanese keen to banish memories of 1995's encounter in South Africa when the All Blacks posted the highest score in a World Cup match winning 145 to 17.

There's no expectation of a similar scoreline tonight with Japan pushing France more than the 47-21 scoreline might suggest in their tournament opener last weekend.

Kirwan says for many in his side tonight's game will be the pinnacle of their careers.