Week 38: Hero – Japan Rugby Team

by Charlie_East_West on September 20, 2015


The heroes of the week are the Japan rugby team for causing the biggest ever upset in the history of rugby union by beating the mighty South Africa 34-32 in the Rugby World Cup.

Sometimes sport can be quite magical. On Saturday afternoon, I arrived back home and switched on the television and noticed that Japan were holding their own against South Africa. I muttered a few lazy assumptions about South African fitness would ensure the Springboks pulling away from Japan in the second half. So, l, along with the entire rugby world waited for the inevitable to happen…and waited…and waited…and waited until the point were I became completely absorbed in the contest, screaming at the television for Japan to win. Sport can do this. I had suddenly, for a glorious 40 minutes, turned into a manic supporter of the Japan rugby team.

Because I had invested my emotions in this match, I started to get the wonderful feeling that sport can provide – anxious yet glorious adrenaline rushes every time Japan thumped into a Springbok and every time they broke the gain line. I cheered every Springbok knock-on. I sighed with despair every time Japan conceded a penalty. I shook my head with wonder at a lightweight Japan team out mauling and out scrummaging the Springboks – who are traditionally the best in the world at these two facets of the game. But, despite investing my emotions in this match, there was an air of inevitability about what was going to happen. The Japanese were going to fall short. A glorious defeat beckoned. Being Scottish, I have had a lifetime of getting used to this sporting scenario. It was going to end in a narrow defeat for Japan.

The game moved towards the final whistle. Japan were camped on the Springboks line. The referee gave two kickable penalties to Japan – which would have meant a 32-32 draw. Unfathomably, Japan refused to take the kick. They went for the try and the win. They went for the glory. And, incredibly, they bloody well succeeded. Japan’s last second try in the corner will live with every single rugby fan who witnessed it for the rest of their rugby watching days.

Japan had won against the mighty Springboks. Completely bonkers. Utterly glorious.

The only downside to all of this madness is that it makes it more difficult for Scotland to qualify from this group. Scotland’s first match is against….yes…Japan…and they will also have to face an angry and hugely motivated South African side on their road to redemption. Every silver lining has a cloud.

Japan 34
South Africa 32
Jesus Pole Vaulting Christ…
Rugby…bloody hell.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eddie Kaye September 22, 2015 at 1:47 pm

True sporting drama that only the 15 man version of egg chasing can muster. Hate to say it as a League man, but the long periods camped out on the opposing line are particular to Union. Phases of possession going into double figures, followed by penalty, line out and drive, rucks, mauls, another penalty – only in the wacky world of the RWC!


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