Rugby World Cup 2019: International media reacts to Japan's win over Ireland

Japan has again sent shockwaves through the rugby community, beating Ireland 19-12 in an extraordinary upset at the Rugby World Cup. 

Despite trailing 12-9 at the break, Japan fought back to secure their first-ever win over the Irish.

The result puts Japan in a great position to reach the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the first time.

Some international media feel the win tops Japan's famous 34-32 win over the Springboks four years ago at the previous World Cup. 

Rich Freeman - Kyodo News


"Fireworks lit up the night sky in Shizuoka Prefecture on Saturday night following Japan's greatest ever performance on the rugby field.

"Inspired by man-of-the-match Shota Horie, the Brave Blossoms' 19-12 win surpassed the Brighton Miracle for the simple reason that Japan came into the Rugby World Cup with a target on their back.

"Not only are they the hosts, but the win over South Africa in 2015 meant they are no longer a team that is underestimated by the big boys of world rugby.

"Going behind to two early tries, with their first-five Yu Tamura coming into the game following two below-par performances, the Brave Blossoms somehow dug deep to stay in the game in the first half and then completely dominate in the second.

"And that Jamie Joseph said was down to the senior players in the team, who all buy into the team culture of "One Team."

"It's a result that will go down in as the best in Japanese rugby history."

Ruaidhri O'Connor - 


"Ireland came to Japan hoping to make history, but this wasn't what they had in mind.

"On an unforgettable evening in front of 47,813 fans in Shizuoka, the World Cup got a turbo-charge thanks to a stunning display from hosts Japan who put themselves on course for a first quarter-final with a performance for the ages.

"They had to do it the hard way, coming back from a 12-3 deficit after Ireland took control in the opening quarter. They kept Ireland scoreless for more than an hour, and the visiting team grew more desperate and disjointed.

"In the end, they were scrambling to keep the losing bonus point that keeps them in control of their own destiny. However, this is a damaging defeat.

"The review will be savage, but the losing bonus point keeps them in control of their own destiny. Just."

Keith Duggan - The Irish Times 


"This is a thousand miles away from anything that would have been spoken in the calm, hot midweek days of Shizuoka. Japan had found its rugby voice.

"What we had imagined - a mass green invasion, an Irish charm bombardment, a few lusty rounds of The Fields of Athenry as Ireland put the hosts away in the final quarter - suddenly seemed fanciful. This was Japan experienced for the first time as somewhere foreign and hostile and indifferent to the need of her visitors.

Japan celebrate their historic win over Ireland.
Japan celebrate their historic win over Ireland. Photo credit: Photosport

"It was misery in the heat for Ireland but a dream occasion for the Rugby World Cup. Japan's mid-afternoon national television audience discovered that they had a rugby team capable of living with one of the superpowers from the cold and wetter edges of western Europe. From the neon streets of Tokyo to the old fishing villages of the northern coast, word must have spread that Japan was rising, all right." 

Paul Rees - The Guardian 


"Japan have done it again, this time against the team ranked No.1 in the world two weeks ago. The World Cup hosts came from nine points down to win after playing with pace, skill and fervour that the humidity and time could not dim.

"Such was the thunderous roar when the final whistle sounded it would have caused the nearby Mount Fuji to wobble. There were times when they looked like the All Blacks in red and white jerseys, off-loading, evading tackles and breaking from deep to make one of the tightest defences in world rugby scramble with increasing desperation.

"Japan stunned the rugby world four years ago when they defeated South Africa in Brighton, and they are now on course to meet the Springboks in the last eight, but this was different. The 1995 and 2007 winners were on the way down, bloated and complacent, but Ireland did not throw this match away. 

Ireland's Peter O'Mahony dejected after the game
Ireland's Peter O'Mahony dejected after the game. Photo credit: Photosport

"They were in control after 20 minutes having scored two tries from kicks, but as soon as Michael Leitch, the hosts' tournament captain, came off the bench before the half-hour, the game changed.

"Japan had been camera shy against Russia on the opening night, unused to the attention and uncomfortable in it, but here they revelled in the spotlight." 

Simon Lewis - The Irish Examiner 


"Ireland suffered one of the biggest upsets in Rugby World Cup history as Japan repeated their Brighton miracle against South Africa on home soil to leave Joe Schmidt's men stunned at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa.

"Just as the Brave Blossoms defeated the Springboks in England four years ago to send shockwaves through the tournament, they were full value for their Pool A victory which blows the group wide open once again. Ireland were kept scoreless for an hour after an early two-try burst as they lost their way in a fevered atmosphere.

"Tries from Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney inside 20 minutes, the second converted by Jack Carty, were insufficient insurance for a side which had hammered Scotland 27-3 six days earlier.

"Schmidt's men must now beat Russia in Kobe in five days and then Samoa in Fukoaka nine days later and hope either Japan or Scotland slip up in their remaining games, their pool rivals set to meet in the final round of the pool schedule. Japan will not worry about that just yet, however. They were too busy getting the deserved adulation of the home crowd on an epic night in Shizuoka.

Michael Morrow - BBC Sport 


"Hosts Japan pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Rugby World Cup history as they beat world number two-ranked Ireland 19-12 in Shizuoka.

"Tries from Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney saw Ireland lead at the break, although three Yu Tamura penalties kept the game to within one score.

"Replacement Kenki Fukuoka dived over in the corner on 59 minutes to put the Brave Blossoms in front. Tamura's 72nd-minute penalty sealed a monumental win.

"Not since Japan's win over South Africa four years ago in Brighton has rugby witnessed a result that will resound around the world in the way this one will.

"This was not a result borne of Irish indiscipline or stage fright, but of a truly stunning Japanese performance in front of a cacophonous crowd that lifted their side with a stunning noise that greeted every metre gained, tackle made and turnover won.

"It is a result that will, regardless of what happens in the next six weeks of rugby, leave a legacy for generations to come, and willsend rugby into a new stratosphere of popularity within the country."

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