JAPAN beat South Africa 34 – 32 on Saturday September 19 in a match that stunned more than just the mighty Springboks. The game unfolded from a close contest into an unprecedented victory for Japan over the southern hemisphere rugby giants.
Japan’s last win in a Rugby World Cup was in 1991. South Africa were world champions in 1995 and 2007 and are one of the world’s most formidable rugby nations. Despite the talk of Japan’s bravery and dedication that preceded the match and the re-evaluation of their excellent coaching and preparation that followed it, nobody saw this coming.
South Africa faced a backlash from supporters and media at home and have invoked the Spanish football team of 2010 as part of their response.
Bismarck du Plessis, South Africa’s talented hooker, referenced Spain’s opening game in the 2010 football World Cup in which Spain lost to Switzerland. Spain recovered and went on to lift the trophy in 2010. “We can see it’s been done”, said du Plessis and insisted his team is now focused on the games to come.
On the back of this dramatic encounter the stage for the rest of the 2015 Rugby World Cup is now surely set.