Sports

Rugby: Hosts Japan stun Ireland 19-12 in huge World Cup upset to boost hopes of a first quarter-final appearance

SHIZUOKA (REUTERS, AFP) – Hosts Japan stunned world No. 2 Ireland 19-12 in an extraordinary upset on Saturday (Sept 28) to win their second match of the Rugby World Cup and give themselves a strong chance of reaching the knockout stages for the first time.

The Brave Blossoms came from behind at Shizuoka Stadium to beat a side recently ranked No. 1 in the world in a shock to match their victory over twice world champions South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

Early tries by Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney and a conversion by Jack Carty were not enough as Kenki Fukuoka try in the 58th minute and Yu Tamura's conversion and four penalties gave them another famous win.

Ireland, who thrashed Scotland 27-3 in their opening Pool A game, had looked in control after tries in the 13th and 20th minutes, the second being converted.

But they went off the boil as Japan grew into the match, roared on by a partisan crowd of 47,000. Fukuoka made the difference, wriggling over on the overlap to complete a stunning team try and put the home side in front – where they stayed, leaving Ireland's players slumped on the turf in disbelief.

Kotaro Matsushima, hat-trick hero of Japan's 30-10 win over minnows Russia in last week's tournament curtain-raiser, posed an early threat on as Japan edged a cagey opening.

Fly-half Tamura fluffed a makeable penalty, before Ireland took the lead when the rampaging Ringrose rose brilliantly to snaffle Carty's hanging kick into the corner.

Carty, stepping in for Ireland's talismanic playmaker Johnny Sexton, produced another moment of magic seven minutes later, dinking a clever chip that he managed to tip back to full-back Kearney to crash over.

Japan refused to buckle, however, and Tamura kept them in it with three clutch penalties.

Regular captain Michael Leitch's introduction after half an hour provided an instant impact, but Ireland survived to go into half-time up 12-9.

Tamura missed a three-pointer 14 minRead More – Source