Biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history: Social media reacts to Japan’s win

Japan recorded the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history as substitute Karne Hesketh scored on the last play of the game to seal a 34-32 victory over two-time winners South Africa.


The result sent reverberations through the sport two days into the six-week tournament.

It was only the second win in 25 World Cup matches for the Asian nation, but they fully deserved to take the spoils from the pulsating Pool B encounter at the Brighton Community Stadium.

Japan head coach Eddie Jones said he is delighted with the win.

“You know and today we were more than brave, you know, we stuck at it you know, kept on picking at penalty goals,” said Jones.

“The odd try here and there and then the courage at the end by Leitchy to go for the try, you know, when we could have taken three and got a draw, which would have been, you know a good result, but to have the win is just a fantastic result. So it’s right up there, right up there.”

Japan captain Michael Leitch said the result was the culmination of three years of hard training.

“The boys are really happy, it’s our first (World Cup) win in 24 years and to beat the Springboks at the World Cup, you know, it’s a pretty special feeling.

“But now that we’ve won, we’re going to celebrate this win but, you know, we’ve got Scotland just around the corner so we’ve got to focus on them now.”

South African coach Heyneke Meyer apologised to his country for what he said was an “unacceptable” performance by the Springboks.

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