Rugby World Cup hosts Japan beat Ireland 19-12 in major upset

Rugby World Cup hosts Japan beat Ireland 19-12 in major upset”

That they had to win all their remaining pool games against Samoa, Russia and Japan was a given.

Finding Ireland vulnerable on the edges, and employing suffocating line speed that checked the Irish attack, Japan pulled off an even bigger surprise than their famed upset of South Africa in the 2015 World Cup in Brighton, England.

Ireland's World Cup victor odds have taken a sharp rise, and they are [15.0] to be the last team standing. "We're not there yet". Every time they were slowing it down so Ireland couldn't secure fast ball when they had it. It hangs in the background but we're a new team. "That's all we're focusing on".

But victory over Ireland leaves them within reach of the quarter-finals, with Samoa and Scotland standing in their way.

Most observers had expected Japan's game against Scotland to be a battle for second place in the pool, but the Brave Blossoms now have the chance to finish top after a famous afternoon in Shizuoka.

"A week ago I said if we manage to beat Italy (and) if Ireland beat Japan then we might meet Ireland, but both of us have to get past those hurdles first", said Erasmus. Shellshocked, Joe Schmidt's men were making uncharacteristic simple errors and Fukuoka, a last-minute addition to the bench after an injury to Will Tupou, sensationally gave Japan the lead with 20 minutes to go and Tamura slotted over his most hard kick of the night to make it 16-12.

"Out on the field, there was wave after wave coming at us, especially in the second half", said loose forward Pieter Labuschagne, who captained Japan with Leitch dropped to the bench.

"It took a special effort but we had massive belief that we could do something different tonight". "I'm just really proud of everyone".

And O'Driscoll called on the squad to try and move on from the loss as plans for a potential semi-final against South Africa are put on ice.

And very, very interesting for the host nation.

"Of course, I was feeling a little nervous, but I really wanted to put in a good performance and I had prepared myself for that", said Fukuoka, who ran half the length of the pitch in the 78th minute only to be caught up and tackled by an Irish defender. I wonder did the conditions and the humidity take effect because it wasn't the Ireland we've come to expect over the last couple of years. Tim knew I was there. "It was all about being in a one-team spirit". Japan hooker Shota Horie said to the crowd after being named man of the match. We've been training for a long time. I thought (lock Iain) Henderson looked quite flat in the second half.

Ireland, unlike the Springboks four years ago, were not taking the Japanese lightly. "That was a hell of a performance and it's great for Japanese rugby".

But after their bonus-point win over Scotland and a losing bonus point here, Schmidt and his Ireland side can take some consolation from the fact that their fate remains in their own hands.

"Japan had us under huge pressure today", said Ireland standoff Joey Carbery. They're going to be looking to be as accurate as they possibly can be, and I think that's the whole team of four. "Hopefully it will make us better".

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