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World Cup explodes into life as hosts Japan stun Ireland

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World Cup explodes into life as hosts Japan stun Ireland

By Padraic Halpin

 

2019-09-28T093331Z_1_LYNXMPEF8R088_RTROPTP_4_RUGBY-UNION-WORLDCUP-JPN-IRL.JPG

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool A - Japan v Ireland - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka, Japan - September 28, 2019 Japan players celebrate after the match REUTERS/Edgar Su

 

FUKUROI CITY, Japan (Reuters) - The Rugby World Cup exploded into life on Saturday as Japan stunned Ireland 19-12 in an extraordinary upset that handed the exuberant hosts the result they had dreamed of and allowed their fans to embrace the first tournament ever staged on Asian soil.

 

In contrast to their victory over twice-champions South Africa which shocked world rugby at the last tournament, this win offers Japan a clearer path towards a first quarter-final appearance which would help sustain the tournament into the knockout stages.

 

The Brave Blossoms came from behind at Shizuoka Stadium thanks to a fearless kicking display from flyhalf Yu Tamura and a second-half try from winger Kenki Fukuoka, whose name only appeared among the replacements an hour before kickoff after a late injury.

 

Richly deserved winners over a shellshocked Ireland side recently ranked number one in the world, Japan's players hugged as Angus Gardner blew the final whistle and celebrated in front of the wild 47,813 fans as fireworks lit up the Shizuoka sky.

 

"With 50,000 fans, 40,000 in red jerseys, it makes you really proud," coach Jamie Joseph told a news conference, as the local media matched the Irish fans dotted around the stadium in applauding his side's phenomenal performance.

 

"The Irish team is a quality rugby side but we've been preparing for this game a hell of a lot longer than they have. We thought we had a bit of an advantage in that and we just executed our plan."

 

Ireland led 12-3 thanks to two early tries from Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose but were ultimately made to look a shadow of the team that ploughed through Scotland six days ago, leaving coach Joe Schmidt's World Cup plans in jeopardy.

 

Left clinging on to what may prove a crucial losing bonus point, Ireland, however, are still well-placed to qualify and could still top Pool A if Japan fail to beat Scotland but their hopes of reaching a first semi-final look a lot less credible.

 

"We played well in the first quarter and then we stopped playing," a rueful Schmidt said, insisting that the Japanese had not exceeded his expectations but, unfortunately, merely met them.

 

"The strength of the team will be how they respond and how they rebound from this," he added.

 

EXTRAORDINARY EFFORT

 

The hosts, who had never beaten Ireland before, admitted that their nerves got the better of them in the uneven 30-10 curtain-raising win over Russia and they duly came flying out of the blocks against the Johnny Sexton-less Irish.

 

Ireland's gameplan of attacking off the kind of forward pressure that smashed the Scots and testing the Japanese with third-choice flyhalf Jack Carty's clever array of kicks paid dividends, with Ringrose and Kearney claiming first-quarter tries.

 

Tamura knocked over a penalty in between and Japan already looked like they had Ireland in their sights by the time he cut the deficit again with a second penalty.

 

With five minutes to go to the break the Irish threatened again, for what would prove to be the final meaningful time of the game, with an attacking scrum against their lighter opponents.

 

The Japanese pack, however, responded with an extraordinary effort, destroying a full-strength Irish eight unchanged from the Scottish game at the put-in and driving them backwards before winning a penalty.

 

The crowd rose, producing a huge roar which was matched by the players, prop Jiwon Koo and hooker Shota Horie screaming at the top of their voices. A potential 19-6 Irish halftime lead turned into just a 12-9 advantage as an exhausted-looking Irish defence looked happy to hear the halftime whistle.

 

Japan, who had never got within 16 points in seven previous defeats to Ireland, were back at it after the break with more high-tempo attacking play and Ireland were hanging on as their penalty count inched up.

 

Utterly undone, Schmidt's men were making uncharacteristic simple errors and Fukuoka, a last-minute addition to the bench after an injury to Will Tupou, sensationally gave Japan the lead with 20 minutes to go and Tamura slotted over his most difficult kick of the night to make it 16-12.

 

Ireland simply had no answer to the relentless Japanese defence, led by lock James Moore who made 23 tackles without missing one.

 

With the home fans getting louder and louder, Tamura extended the lead to seven points eight minutes from time and there was no hanging back for Japan as they finished the game deep in the Irish half to reach an all-time high of eighth in the world rankings.

 

"Thank you for today!" Japan hooker Shota Horie said to the crowd after being named man of the match. "Thanks to your cheers, I was able to run to the last centimetre, the last millimetre.

 

(Additional reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Jack Tarrant, Chris Gallagher and Yoko Kono, editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Tony Lawrence)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-09-28

 

 

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Should set up a great game next week when under-dogs Scotland rise to the challenge of taking on the home nation,   Hawey ye Blooz!

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Proof, if it were needed, that at this level of sport sheer guts and the will to win matter more than anything else.

 

Yoku yatta, Japan. Watch out, Scotland.

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13 hours ago, StreetCowboy said:

Should set up a great game next week when under-dogs Scotland rise to the challenge of taking on the home nation,   Hawey ye Blooz!

 

I would imagine that privately Tooownsend is crapping himself at the prospect.

 

If Scotland play like the did against Ireland they'll be in big trouble. 

 

He's made considerable team changes. 

 

Let's see who plays the 'fastest brand of Rugby" this time!

Edited by Baerboxer

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10 hours ago, Baerboxer said:

 

I would imagine that privately Tooownsend is crapping himself at the prospect.

 

If Scotland play like the did against Ireland they'll be in big trouble. 

 

He's made considerable team changes. 

 

Let's see who plays the 'fastest brand of Rugby" this time!

I think with home advantage, Japan are clear favourites.  And even if we win, there's a good chance that it will still be Ireland and Japan that go through, unless we can rack up cricket scores against Russia and on Monday, Samoa.

 

To be honest, I'd be quite pleased to see Japan go through and put one over on South Africa again.

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What a relief! A bonus point victory, and Scotland's man of the match, the Samoan Number 11 who gave us two penalty tries.  I was glad we only had to last five minutes after his red card.  It was a long five minutes.

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Anything could happen in the next four days...

 

 

 

Japan            14 pts

Ireland           11 pts

Scotland        10 pts

 

With the Japan - Scotland game threatened with cancellation due to typhoon, Scotland would be out; unless Samoa beat Ireland by more than seven points.  And Ireland don't score four tries...

 

If Japan beat Scotland Japan and Ireland go through; unless Samoa beat Ireland by more than seven points and Scotland score four tries or more and stay within 7 points of Japan.

 

If Scotland beat Japan and match any bonus point Japan get, then Scotland go through, with Ireland, unless they get beaten or draw with Samoa (even if they score four tries...)

 

How simple could it be?

 

To be fair, if there's a typhoon, Scotland should get a bonus point, because last time we drew a game we scored six tries at Twickenham.

 

SC

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Well now they are talking about cancelling sat/sunday matches because of the hurricane. No replays and just call all the matches a draw.

Why don't they just put all the team names in a hat, pull one out and declare them the winners.

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58 minutes ago, overherebc said:

Well now they are talking about cancelling sat/sunday matches because of the hurricane. No replays and just call all the matches a draw.

Why don't they just put all the team names in a hat, pull one out and declare them the winners.

I think its just the games near Tokyo that are being cancelled.  If it had been me, I'd have put the teams and officials on a train to Hiroshima clear of the typhoon to make sure that the games could take place; I'm sure that the TV companies could have accommodated it, and the fans would rather watch the game on TV than not see it at all due to cancellation.

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37 minutes ago, StreetCowboy said:

I think its just the games near Tokyo that are being cancelled.  If it had been me, I'd have put the teams and officials on a train to Hiroshima clear of the typhoon to make sure that the games could take place; I'm sure that the TV companies could have accommodated it, and the fans would rather watch the game on TV than not see it at all due to cancellation.

Agree. I suppose they have thought about people who already have tickets paid although money back isn't quite the same. Some, although getting ticket money back perhaps won't get travel and hotel expenses back. 

Sad situation for all, players and fans.

 

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24 minutes ago, overherebc said:

Agree. I suppose they have thought about people who already have tickets paid although money back isn't quite the same. Some, although getting ticket money back perhaps won't get travel and hotel expenses back. 

Sad situation for all, players and fans.

 

But even sitting in your hotel watching the game on TV while the storm rages outside is better than sitting in your hotel room staring at the wall fantasising about what might have happened in the match.

 

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8 minutes ago, StreetCowboy said:

But even sitting in your hotel watching the game on TV while the storm rages outside is better than sitting in your hotel room staring at the wall fantasising about what might have happened in the match.

 

And, pick the right hotel there could be concellation

( consolation) benefits to watch with you. 😆

Edited by overherebc

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World Rugby shows itself to be even more incompetent than FIFA!

 

It will be a disgrace if Scotland are denied a chance to upset the host nation and are eliminated from the competition by World Rugby's failure and lies in relation to alternative arrangements for entirely predictable weather events.

 

It enrages me such that I will seriously consider (cutting off my nose to spite my face?) not watching any more of the competition if the proposed "automatic elimination event" takes place.

 

[England Fan]

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It seems inequitable that only four points are split between teams whose games are cancelled.  As well as having to suffer missing out on a game in the World Cup, they are denied the opportunity of a bonus point.  It would seem fairer to award both teams three points, and disadvantage the other teams, not those who have missed out on the greatest game of their careers.

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What an effort by the Japanese to get tonight's game on, and the stadium is full.  The Scots can have nothing but gratitude for this opportunity.  Nothing but gratitude, and a steely determination to make the most of it, against a team they have never lost against.  Not yet.

 

Come on you Scotland !

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