Do Not Sell My Personal Information
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Sunday Sep 20, 2015

Highlights and celebrations from Japan's famous win over South Africa

Highlights and celebrations from Japan's famous win over South Africa
23
Comments

Just when it seemed that Georgia beating Tonga was the upset of the day, Saturday’s 34-32 victory by Japan over two-time World Champions South Africa will go down as one of the greatest sporting upsets of all time. Catch up on the highlights, celebrations and more now.

The Twittersphere went into overdrive yesterday as hardcore fans and casual observers came together to celebrate a tremendous sporting achievement. Even JK Rowling tweeted about it.

Japan’s composure throughout the match, and indeed in the final few minutes, has been called New Zealand-esque, and their courage and strength has gone a long way towards earning them thousands of new fans.

It’s perfectly timed too, with the next Rugby World Cup being hosted in Japan in 2019. “There are kids at home who will want to play rugby at the next World Cup now,” said Eddie Jones.

While the Springboks are usually strong enough to play badly and still win against ‘lesser teams’, they obviously underestimated what the Japanese were capable of.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has apologised to the nation, while captain Jean De Villiers, who along with a host of senior players has only just come back from injury, said that he’s not sure what happened.

“I think this is just one of those performances where, we can’t really put our finger on it why we lost, but we were beaten by a better team on the day.”

The Brave Blossoms face Scotland on Wednesday, and the Scots will no doubt have been shaken up by this shock result. It sets up Pool B fantastically, throwing a spanner in the works in what was considered a group that wouldn’t be as competitive as Group A, for example.

Japan are coached by Australian Eddie Jones, the genius tactitian who outsmarted the All Blacks in the 2003 Rugby World Cup semi final with the Wallabies, and then came within inches of winning the tournament, if it were not for a certain Jonny Wilkinson.

Jones then picked up a RWC winners medal a few years later, when he was part of Jake White’s Springbok team who won the tournament in 2007. It was a masterstroke from White to bring him in then, and now Japan are reaping the benefits of the no-nonsense coach, who actually has a Japanese mother.

The highlights below show the biggest moments of the match, and you can watch a few more of the celebrations, as well as the post match chat with coach Jones, on the next page.

23 Comments

  • upthejumper
    10:16 PM 22/09/2015

    Alright, keep your shirt on. Just didn't want to detract from what was an amazing Japanese team performance.

    Reply
  • guy
    5:04 PM 22/09/2015

    I would not hold my breath waiting for the Netherlands, although we are making steady progress with regional rugby academies in high school for example. We still need to grow a rugby culture and we need some serious sponsors. Logistically we should be able to have a strong competition since Holland is small and densely populated. But even without participating I am really enjoying the tournament immensely so far.

    Reply
  • upthejumper
    5:52 AM 22/09/2015

    Spot-on with your assessment there Eddie: Goromaru's try should make the long list for trys of the tournament!

    Reply
  • upthejumper
    5:45 AM 22/09/2015

    I wouldn't make much of them being 'NZ boys'. Thompson has been playing in Japan since 2004 and Leitch moved over as a teenager, played his formative years there and speaks better Japanese than English by all accounts. Tui and Hesketh are more recent converts, but they are clearly all highly committed to the cause and the Japanese RFU don't seem to mind a few overseas players to bolster the ranks. Besides Kirwan selected far more than Jones has.

    Reply
  • drg
    1:12 AM 22/09/2015

    I think Scotland will be surprised by the result, as much as anyone was/is, but then I don't think they ever assumed any of the games were going to be easy for them. Also, I'm not suggesting this is the case here, as it would be insulting to the blossoms, but there are 'shock results' which later turn out to be minor hiccups in the losing teams win/loss streak. NZ are testament to this, they have close games, or lose games and come back firing even harder. I suspect the boks will behave like this, but then they already did have their shock loss against Arg, so we'll have to see.. Scotland also has the benefit of being reasonably competitive against the boks, recently not so much, but their history has always shown a similar 'big boy' style of play, results however have often been against them with their discipline proving to be a big problem. I'm hoping for Scotlands sake that they can keep their discipline up because Japan has clearly done well to control theirs!!! I think SA may potentially top Pool B, lets not forget that although they lost against Japan, they also got 2 bonus points... so as terrible as it was, they didn't come out with nothing. For the record, are the pool results all down to win/loss/bonus points? For instance if Japan wins all their games with no bonus points they'll be on 16, but if SA win all the next games with bonus points, they'll be on 17 (if my understanding is right)...

    Reply
  • vladimir
    9:01 PM 21/09/2015

    I fully agree!

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    8:22 PM 21/09/2015

    Japan has never lacked skill. Size has traditionally been their biggest problem, as well as the usual issue with the lower ranked teams, that over 80 minutes, they make too many mistakes and their inferior conditioning eventually tells. What they did on Saturday, apart from showing the full range of core skills on attack (their set-piece try was one of the best bits of play of the tournament so far), was tackling like demons and committing to contesting the breakdown. Their kicking game was superior and so too their discipline. In short, they played like a top-tier team; whatever SA did to open the door for Japan is not really the issue. Japan played like a well-drilled professional team, and they had the gas to keep going to the end. They deserve all the praise they are getting.

    Reply
  • vladimir
    7:27 PM 21/09/2015

    Sincerely, I was a pleasantly shocked as you but not that surprised about japan's performance. I remember people talking a lot about their team in the 2007 RWC. We were quite impressed by their spirit and their fearless commitment to the game while disappointed with their lack of fitness. They were already fast, with decent skills. True, they failed at the next world cup, but steadily improve thanks to the PNC. I was rather intrigued when they hired Eddie Jones and proposed to host the RWC. This is hardly a team bursting out of nowhere. Yes SA did underperform, but japan was incredly versatile in its play : powerful mauls, blistering set-pieces tries, counter-rucks, counter-attacking play, ball retention through many phases near and away the ruck, ... Apart from the NZ, I have not seen yet a team employing such a diverse panel of tactics.

    Reply
  • misterdavid
    7:25 PM 21/09/2015

    Minor minor minor point here, but did Hesketh actually touch the ball before his try? The match details say that he came on in the 80th minute (presumably at the scrum). If so, that's a heck of a way to make your entrance :)

    Reply
  • drg
    5:54 PM 21/09/2015

    I have to say, I have been noticing the difference between some of the big SH teams and the NH teams. Not so much Australia as they have the NRL and Cricket and Aussie rules to play with, but with SA and NZ (who also play other sports) rugby seems to be a heritage thing. You see a NH team lose a game they shouldn't have and the feeling is "we weren't clinical, the other team played well, and it's just one of those things"... With SA and NZ, it's more like "that should NEVER have happened, it was a disaster" borderline expecting the teams to go off and commit a group suicide... They have respect for the teams that beat them, but there is this deep passion which almost can't accept when they lose a game that they really should not have lost. I heard Japan was 66/1 to win... I think that has a lot to do with how good SA and NZ are, but also how much their own mindset can be a detriment to their own self esteem. All that being said, I suspect (rightly or wrongly) that SA will come back stronger in the next few games.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    4:23 PM 21/09/2015

    As if to underline the arrogance/incompetence angle, we ended up starting a lock at 7 on Saturday. Honestly, if you'd told me at the start of the year we'd be short of fit loose-forwards at the WC, I'd have driven you straight to rehab myself. Anyway, just seen Eddie Jones is coaching the Stormers from next season. I imagine he secured a pretty good deal.

    Reply
  • katman
    4:04 PM 21/09/2015

    Yes, the only forward I'd have at first receiver is Jaco Kriel. In fact, I'd have 15 of him on the field. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMpI5X5TrOM

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    4:00 PM 21/09/2015

    Don't get me started either. I hope the next forward who stands at first receiver gets drop-kicked into the North Sea. (also, subbing Lambie... he had a poor game, so by all means bring Pollard on at 10, but it why oh why are you removing your clutch kicker in a tight game? He should have moved to 15, and been told to concentrate on one thing only.) For me, there's only one way forward now, and that's to place faith in the younger players. Vermuelen comes back to restore discipline in the pack, and we see if the promise of Pollard and co is genuine. Because the old-guard haven't got it.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:49 PM 21/09/2015

    Thanks, I should admit that I was incoherent most of Saturday and into Sunday. Pulling my thoughts together didn't come instantly! I do know that over here at the Dump, there's plenty of good people who contribute, and often manage to hit the right notes, so it's important to make that effort. But aside from the bigger picture of why this result was good for rugby, there are silver-linings even for us Bok supporters. If we win our next 3 games, we probably top the group. (We are still prohibitive favorites to win our group, remarkably). But I don't see us coming back from this to win the competition, the damage from this result is too far-reaching.

    Reply
  • katman
    3:43 PM 21/09/2015

    I'm waiting for the day countries like Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania etc really discover rugby. Then we'll all be history. Some big, big boys up north.

    Reply
  • katman
    3:38 PM 21/09/2015

    Don't get me started on Schalk's fancy stuff. There was a time when he was a hard-as-nails, no nonsense flank - fearless tackler, stealer of ruck balls and decent link man. Then he started trying (and often succeeding) with cute offloads, flick-ons, through-the-legs passes and no-look pops. This then became his new "legend", and now he tries the speculative spectacular ALL THE FRIKKIN TIME. So many times in this Japan game, when we were clearly up against it and in need of some solid basics, he would try something adventurous and lose the ball. Drove me nuts all game long.

    Reply
  • guy
    3:38 PM 21/09/2015

    It's comments like yours and Katman's that still make this my favourite rugby website. Before the match I read a lot of insult in the direction of the Japanese on other websites (varying from questioning either the 'Brave' and the 'Blossom', their size, skills, etc). But guys like you are the real rugby afficionados and I applaud you and every other Bok fan with the same sentiment for that. You know, coming from the Netherlands for me it is almost impossible to fathom how incredibly disappointed you guys must be, which makes those generous words extra special.

    Reply
  • katman
    3:32 PM 21/09/2015

    Scotland (12) are now below Japan (11) in the world rankings. Wouldn't even be called an upset.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:04 PM 21/09/2015

    This is a great comment, but I wanted to pick up on "not seeing this day coming". I didn't either, clearly none of our players or management did, but there was a definite moment in the match where I saw we could lose this. We were 29-22 up, had a line-out maybe 10 metres from the Japan line, and rather than set up a maul, someone called a funky off-the-top move with Schalk Burger supposed to attack the 5-yard channel. He duly knocked on. I was practically having seizures at this point. JDV, Matfield, Burger, FDP were all on the field, and no-one thought, "This match is still in the balance, let's go up the guts and get two scores ahead." Anyway, saying how arrogance cost us I think misses how courageous and disciplined the Japanese team were. Fully deserving winners, over 80 minutes they were the better rugby team. And those are pretty amazing words to be writing.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    2:24 PM 21/09/2015

    Echoing Katman, this was a watershed day in world rugby; as painful as it was for us Bok fans, it is more important to pay credit to Japan and treat them and the other less established sides as equals. They earned it, they have changed the face of rugby forever. And changed it for the better. There's going to be no more insulting questions about Japan's fitness to host the next World Cup, no more arrogant debate over whether the size of the competition should be reduced, and no more excuses for not getting nations like Japan on more regular international schedules. (Having a Japan-based side join the expanded super rugby competition from next year could not have been better timed.) Rugby's future has never looked brighter; I'll admit it took me a few hours to realize this, but once I did, it certainly helped reach acceptance that the rugby gods might have had a greater purpose in mind in contriving this result!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:36 AM 21/09/2015

    Yep. It's a beautiful thing that this type of integrity, courtesy and camaraderie continues. The spirit of rugby.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    9:24 AM 21/09/2015

    The stories of the Bok fans are great to hear and a reminder of why I love the sport so much.

    Reply
  • katman
    9:02 AM 21/09/2015

    As a South African and a lifelong Springbok fan, I am bitterly disappointed. I never saw this day coming, and even two days later it still hasn't sunk in. But there is something really uplifting about this. The way the Japanese approached this game was incredible. Not just their guts and passion, but their discipline too - they made so few errors for the Boks to capitalise on. But the best part of this story is what happened afterwards. Pics of Bok fans embracing tearful Japanese fans in the stadium, reports of Bok fans insisting that Japanese fans disembark the train first and giving them a guard of honour. Obviously we wanted to win, and we still want the World Cup. But stories like these are the next best thing. Japan deserves every bit of credit, and I'm so glad that some of it is coming from my own countrymen.

    Reply


Great Tries

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

View All

See It To Believe It

View All

Funnies

View All

Amateur

View All

Player Features

View All
Highlights and celebrations from Japan's famous win over South Africa | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos