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Japan pulls off biggest upset in rugby history by beating South Africa – SportsUntapped.com
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Added September 22nd, 2015 by Ian

Japan pulls off biggest upset in rugby history by beating South Africa
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The Rugby World Cup is taking place over in the UK at the moment from September 18th to October 31st and the tournament has already made sports headlines around the world. This was due to Japan’s 34-32 upset over South Africa in their match in Brighton, England on September 19th. The defeat led South Africa’s coach Heyneke Meyer to apologize to his country following the huge upset. The game is being compared to The Miracle on Ice when the American men’s hockey team beat The Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The U.S. hockey team was made up mainly of college players and amateurs.

Other journalists are calling it the biggest shock since the U.S. beat England 1-0 at the World Cup back in 1950 or when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson for the heavyweight title in Tokyo, Japan in 1990. The win by Japan is considered such a big upset since just a few nations take the game of rugby union seriously and this means those countries are very good at it, with South Africa being regarded among the best. The World Cup is held every four years and the smaller nations, such as Japan, are using beaten quite heavily but the established powers.

Japan entered the game with just one win in 24 past World Cup contests, which was against Zimbabwe in 1991. They lost to the U.S. a few weeks ago and just managed to edge Georgia 13-10 in a pre-tournament match. Entering the Group B game, South Africa were two-time winners of the World Cup. In addition, just three teams had managed to beat South Africa in previous World Cup encounters. These were England, Australia, and New Zealand and Japan kicked off the games as high as 80/1 underdogs. When Douglas knocked Tyson senseless, he was a 44/1 underdog.

Thirteenth-ranked Japan left this late as the downed South Africa on the last play of the game. Japan’s head coach Eddie Jones used to work for the South African team and was a part of the setup that won the 2007 World Cup. South Africa had a three-point lead against Japan late in the game, but while Japan had a chance to tie the match with a three-point kick, they went for the win instead. They achieved their goal when the contest reached the fourth minute of injury time when Karne Hesketh dived in for the winning try. The Japanese rugby squad is now full of national heroes, especially Hesketh and Ayumu Goromaru, who finished the game with 24 points.

Japan had never before won a game against a team from the southern hemisphere and had beaten just two top-tier teams in the past 27 years, which were Italy and Wales, and these victories came at home in Tokyo. The South African team which lost to Japan was the nation’s most experienced team ever with the starters having combined for 851 caps.

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