At the Brighton Community Stadium in Brighton what is perhaps the biggest surprise in the rugby history happened today. In this busy Saturday in the Rugby World Cup, Japan has in fact defeated South Africa 34-32. It really is an outstanding achievement because the South Africans were by far the favorites and on paper they were supposed to easily defeat the Japanese.
The bare facts of the match. Japan started well and took a 3-0 lead at the 7th minute thanks to a penalty kick. South Africa struggles but at the 17th minute Francois Louw scores a try for the Springboks that, after its conversion, brings them on 7-3. Japan doesn’t give up and at the 29th a try by Michael Leitch with a conversion gives them back the lead at 10-7. After only three minutes Bismarck du Plessis brings South Africa ahead 12-10 with a try that isn’t converted.
In the second half we expect a very different South Africa but at the 42nd minute Japan is back in the lead 13-12 thanks to a penalty kick. The Springboks seem to wake up and after a few seconds score a try with Lood de Jager that, after its conversion, brings them ahead 19-13. Japan doesn’t give up at all and, taking advantage of the South Africa’s indiscipline, ties with two penalty kicks at the 48th and 52nd minute. South Africa gets ahead again at the 56th with a penalty kick but Japan ties again after three minutes with another penalty kick. South Africa scores a try at the 61st with Adriaan Strauss and after its conversion goes on 29-22. Japan continues to give everything and at the 68th Ayumu Goromaru scores a try converting it himself tieing the score again. Four minutes later South Africa is back to the lead with a penalty kick on 32-29. Japan doesn’t give up and attacks with all the energy the players still have. At the 78th Coenie Oosthuizen is sinbinned and the Japanese are even more determined to score. They could kick the penalty to tie the score but they try to win and with the match time already expired Karne Hesketh scores the try. The conversion is failed but it’s irrelevant because Japan has made the big surprise.
For South Africa it’s a humiliating blow, also because in the end the Japanese wanted to look for the try to win when they could tie the score. The team arrived at this World Cup with many doubts and now the players will have to make every effort to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Now for Group B the situation was shaken up and Japan will try to qualify. Of course, they need to beat Samoa and the head to head will be essential in addition to that with Scotland. Certainly Japan’s very expert coach Eddie Jones will handle the situation but for now the team can enjoy a historic victory!