Rugby Lightning strikes twice: Japan eclipses 2015 upset of South Africa by beating Ireland

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Rugby’s world order has been shaken. Again.

Four years after they stunned the rugby world in the English seaside town of Brighton, Japan on Saturday evening repeated the dose. This time at home.

It was an inspired performance from the Brave Blossoms on Saturday afternoon in Shizuoka, where they were cheered on by a raucous home crowd, as they came from behind to defeat Ireland 19-12 to notch another famous win to go with their upset of South Africa in 2015.

Japan’s victory means the hosts could now end up topping Pool A, which would see them avoid a potential quarterfinal with the All Blacks and instead earn a likely date with (who else?) South Africa in the quarterfinals. Suddenly the semifinals are a possibility and given how they fought back in Shizuoka, only a fool would say that achievement is beyond them.

While the Rugby World Cup’s first foray into Asia has been embraced by the people of Japan, the Brave Blossoms’ victory on Saturday afternoon will take things to another level.

It also validated coach Jamie Joseph’s pre-tournament plan that saw many of Japan’s best players sit out the majority of Super Rugby and instead focus purely on th

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