Rugby Japan shock Ireland with another historic Rugby World Cup upset

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Thrilling, sensational, utterly deserved…giant-killers Japan light Rugby World Cup’s touch paper

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  • Japan shocked the globe for the second time in four years by stunning Ireland 19-12 to light a bomb under Pool A and a fire under their home World Cup.

    The Brave Blossoms tore through Ireland time and time again in Shizuoka, triumphing through superior tenacity and supreme intensity.

    The world’s 10th-ranked team beat the second-best outfit, who entered this tournament ranked number one in the standings.

    Wing Kenki Fukuoka ran in the try that sealed Japan’s famous victory, immediately invoking memories of their breathless 34-32 win over South Africa in Brighton in 2015.


    Match details

    Scoring: 0-5 Ringrose try; 3-5 Tamura pen; 3-10 Kearney try; 3-12 Carty con; 6-12 Tamura pen; 9-12 Tamura pen; 14-12 Fukuoka try; 16-12 Tamura con; 19-12 Tamura pen

    Japan: R Yamanaka (K Fukuoka 50), K Matsushima, T Lafaele, R Nakamura, L Lemeki, Y Tamura, Y Nagare (F Tanaka 57), K Inagaki (I Nakajima 64), S Horie, J Koo (A Valu 54), L Thompson (W Van Der Walt 64), J Moore, K Himeno, P Labuschagne, A Mafi (M Leitch 30)

    Ireland: R Kearney (L McGrath 68), K Earls, G Ringrose, C Farrell (J Larmour 61), J Stockdale, J Carty (J Carbery 61), C Murray, C Healy (D Kilcoyne 46), R Best (S Cronin 61), T Furlong (A Porter 61), J Henderson (T Beirne 66), J Ryan, P O’Mahony (R Ruddock 55), J van der Flier, C J Stander

    Referee: A Gardner (AUS)

    Att: 47,813


    Plenty more to come

    <span>Plenty more to come</span><span>Credit: David Ramos/Getty</span>

    Plenty more to comeCredit: David Ramos/Getty

    Well, what a morning, afternoon or evening that was, wherever you are in the world.

    They’ll be plenty more analysis, opinion and general commentary on this shock result later today and throughout the next week.

    Remember to check back in with us and catch the latest developments in the fallout of both this game and the rest of the Rugby World Cup.


    Did you miss it?


    “One of the most fantastic atmospheres,”


    Missed something? We’ve got everything you need to know, conveniently packed in one place.



    Oldest in history

    <span>Oldest player in Japan's history</span><span>Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty</span>

    Oldest player in Japan’s historyCredit: Cameron Spencer/Getty

    Second row Luke Thompson is the oldest rugby player in the Japanese team’s history and the third oldest player to ever feature at a Rugby World Cup, playing his part in today’s shock result at 38 years and 165 days of age.


    Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll has his say

    Well that certainly didn’t go to plan. Now need 10 points from the final two pool matches and see what way the chips fall. Very disappointing after the first up performance but massive congrats to an excellent Japan.

    — Brian O’Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) September 28, 2019


    Rugby’s Giant Slayers 

    Japan now have the top two biggest upsets in rugby’s history to their name, first South Africa and now Ireland. Is green just their colour? 

    Giant Slaying Specialists, who’s to say how far they’ll go in this Rugby World Cup?


    Did you predict a Japan win today? Test yourself and your mates for the remainder of the tournament


    Rory Best: “Anyone that is utterly shocked hasn’t seen how good they are”


    Fancy a glimpse behind the scenes with Will Greenwood?



    How happy do these Brave Blossoms look?


    Japanese schedule primed for route to top playoff spot

    They still have to get past a Scottish side keen on avenging their disappointing defeat to Ireland, but Japan’s schedule allows them seven days rest before they play Samoa next Saturday and then a further eight days before they face the Scots in the final game of the pool stages on Sunday the 13th of October.

    That is not a game you want to miss after today’s monumental game.


    The fanzones look like the place to be!


    Stay up to date with the Scotland and British and Irish Lions legend Sir Ian McGeechan exclusively at The Telegraph



    The Japanese are ecstatic! 

    <span>What a win for the home nation</span><span>Credit: Reuters</span>

    What a win for the home nationCredit: Reuters


    All to play for for Ireland

    <span>It's all to play for in Ireland's remaining games</span><span>Credit: Getty</span>

    It’s all to play for in Ireland’s remaining gamesCredit: Getty

     Having beaten Scotland and lost out to Japan, with a losing bonus in the bag, Ireland have it all to play for during their final pool games against Samoa and Russia.

    Expect strong sides in both games from Joe Schmidt’s men as he looks to lead his team to at least second in the pool. If Japan go on to beat an out of sorts Scottish side and Samoa, they’ll top the pool and make their first ever appearance in Rugby World Cup playoffs.


    “”It’s difficulty to put into words, just really proud of the boys…”

    Today’s skipper, South African-born openside Pieter Labuschagne struggles to express his pride after leading Japan to first ever win over Ireland.


    Japan head coach Jamie Joseph speaks after his side’s huge win


    Hear from our columnists: You won’t want to miss a thing after today’s game



    Man of the Match Shota Horie

    Japan hooker Shota Horie claims the Player of the Match award in Fukuroi City.


    First Tier 2 defeat for Ireland

    This is the first time in history Ireland have lost to a non-Tier 1 nation during a Rugby World Cup!


    “The Shizuoka Stunner”

    First we had the ‘Brighton Miracle’ and now we have the ‘Shizuoka Stunner’.


    It’s not as shocking as 2015, but this is the biggest, most influential win in Japan’s history


    Full-time: It’s all opened up in pool A Japan 19 Ireland 12

    They shocked the world in 2015 against the Springboks and Japan have done it again at the Shizuoka  Stadium in Fukuroi with a win over world number two side Ireland.

    The win puts them to the top of Pool A with 9 points ahead of Ireland on 6 points. A win over Scotland on the final day of the group stages will see Japan top the pool.

    With Japan’s victory means Scotland’s playoff hopes are still alive, while bonus-point victories against Samoa and Russia for both Ireland and Scotland will play significant roles in deciding which two sides make it out of the pools.


    Hear from Telegraph columnist Maggie Alphonsi  


    80 min: Game over! Japan fell Ireland in a historic win! Japan 19 Ireland 12

    That’s it! It’s all over!

    Carbery kicks the ball out to secure a losing bonus point and Japan secure a historic first ever win over the Irish!

    What. A. Game.


    78 min: Intercept! Japan 19 Ireland 12

    Fukuoka intercepts and sprints for the Irish line! He’s brought down five metres out by Keith Earls, but Earls concedes the knock-on while competing for the ball!

    Japan have a scrum directly in front of Ireland’s posts! One score and they take a two-score lead!

    Can you feel the tension?


    77 min: Ireland hammering at the door Japan 19 Ireland 12

    Ireland are in possession ten phases in attempting to break down this Japenese defence, but the red and white line is unrelenting! 


    They’re queuing up in the streets at shop winds to watch in Japan!


    73 min: The kick is good! Japan 19 Ireland 12

    Tamura’s kick is good and Japan have a seven-point lead! Ireland then concede the knock-on from the kick-off and look to scrum down, Japan ball.


    71 min: Japan on the attack again Japan 16 Ireland 12

    Japan are on the charge again and make good ground into the Irish half.

    Tamura goes for the drop goal while on advantage but doesn’t reach the posts. They take another shot at goal from 35 metres out directly in front of the posts.


    69 min: Another turnover! Japan 16 Ireland 12

    Ireland are guilty of a forward pass after a few promising phases with ball in hand. 

    Before the scrum Joe Schmidt brings on Luck McGrath for fullback Rob Kearny. He takes to the wing while Stockdale shifts to fullback.

    Tadhg Beirne is also on in the second row for Iain Henderson.


    66 min: Subs Japan 16 Ireland 12

    Japan have brought on Wimpie Van der Walt for Luke Thompson in the second row and Isileli Nakajima for Keita Inagaki at loosehead.


    66 min: Ireland lose out again Japan 16 Ireland 12

    Ireland make their way to the Japanese line but concede another penalty. The home nation clear the ball to half-way and set up a maul.

    Ireland are under real pressure here with 14 minutes to go.

    They rip the ball from the maul and get a shot at running it back.


    61 min: Subs Japan 16 Ireland 12

    Ireland bring substitute fly-half Joey Carbery on for Jack Carty and hooker Sean Cronin for captain Rory Best.

    Meanwhile, Ireland are on the attack but there’s a fierce Japanese defensive line keeping them at bay.

    Ireland resort to the kick through for Stockdale but the big winger can’t quite get there. Japan lineout 15 metres out.


    59 min: Try Japan! Japan 16 Ireland 12

    Japan spread the ball wide after hammering at the door and score the try!! What a game we have on our hands here, folks!

    Tamura kicks the extras for a 16-12 lead


    58 min: Turnover! Japan 9 Ireland 12

    Ireland had a scrum 20 metres from their own line after a Japanese handling error, but Chris Farrell is penalised for crossing from the set-piece move.

    Japan chose to scrum on their own ball in great attacking position.


    56 min: Subs Japan 9 Ireland 12

    We have some more subs here as Furlong returns in place of Porter. Ireland also bring on substitute flanker Rhys Ruddock for Peter O’Mahony, while Japan replace tighthed prop Ji-won Koo for Asaeli Valu at tighthead and fullback Ryohei Yamanaka for Kenki Fukuoka.

    Japan also change their scrum-halves with Fuminaki Tanaka replacing Yu

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