Japan yesterday rocked the World Cup, beating the mighty Springboks 34-32 to pull off the biggest upset in the cup’s 28 years.
The minnows, who had not won a World Cup match for 24 years, led for much of the match, having tested the ‘Boks’ defence repeatedly and resisting numerous assaults by some of the giants of the game.
Japan’s coach, Australian Eddie Jones, was ecstatic, if somewhat stunned, at a press conference after the historic win.
“Japan beating South Africa? I had to look at the scoreboard at the end just to see if it was true or not,” he told media.
“Normally they would score three or four, it ends up 50-20 and everyone says, ‘Well done Japan, you tried hard, you were brave.’ But we were more than brave.”
he Japanese team showed its fighting spirit to the last minute of injury time, spurning two opportunities to kick for a safe draw, and securing a last minute try by Karne Hesketh that left the Springbok team on their knees, stunned.
Their wizardry even had J. K. Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter, marvelling:
.@NeilBlairTBP Underdog refuses to take the draw, plays for the win, gets it in the final min… maybe in Quidditch, but real life?! ????????❤️????????
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 19, 2015
Japan’s “Brave Blossoms”, ranked 13th in the world, were never rated a chance against South Africa who have twice won the tournament and are presently ranked third behind New Zealand and Australia. The bookies had them as rank outsiders at 40 to 1.
The ‘Boks scored four tries to Japan’s three but poor discipline saw them give away far too many easy penalties, five of which Goromaru booted home to make the difference. The South Africans would be odds on to progress beyond their pool – the other teams they will meet are Scotland, Samoa and the USA – but alarm bells will be ringing about their failure to control the ball and, more to the point, themselves. – The Newsroom Team
Top photo from the Rugby World Cup website.