FUKUROI CITY – Hosts Japan stunned Ireland 19-12 in an extraordinary upset on Saturday to win their second match of the Rugby World Cup and put themselves in pole position to reach the knockout stages for the first time.
The Brave Blossoms came from behind at Shizuoka Stadium with Kenki Fukuoka's second-half try and Yu Tamura's boot beating a side recently ranked number one in the world in a shock to match their victory over twice world champions South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.
While they stunned world rugby then, to win this time in front of an uproarious home crowd with so much focus on Asia's first World Cup was arguably more significant.
The hosts were utterly worthy winners and, having admitted that their nerves got the better of them in the 30-10 curtain-raising win over Russia, there was no repeat eight days later.
They came flying out of the blocks and, after Kotaro Matsushima was a bounce away from getting his fourth try of the World Cup, Tamura missed an easy penalty chance to turn 10 minutes of impressive phases into three points.