Day nine at the Rugby World Cup: Hosts Japan shock Ireland

A look back on a stunning Saturday at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

By Press Association Published: 28 September 2019 - 12.34pm

Hosts Japan pulled off the shock of the 2019 Rugby World Cup so far with a stunning 19-12 victory over Ireland in Shizuoka.

Elsewhere, South Africa recovered from defeat in their opening Pool B match by champions New Zealand to run in nine tries as they thrashed Namibia 57-3 in Toyota.

Saturday’s early kick-off saw Argentina get their campaign up and running with a 28-12 win over Tonga in Osaka, where hooker Julian Montoya scored a hat-trick.

Here, the PA news agency wraps up all of the thrilling action from day nine in Japan, and takes a look ahead to what is coming up – with Wales set to tackle Australia.

Japan shock the world – again

Hosts Japan rocked the globe for the second time in four years by stunning Ireland 19-12 in their Pool A clash in Shizuoka.

The Brave Blossoms tore through Ireland time and time again, triumphing through superior tenacity and supreme intensity.

The world’s 10th-ranked team beat the second-best outfit, who entered this tournament ranked number one in the standings.

Wing Kenki Fukuoka ran in the second-half try which sealed Japan’s famous victory – invoking memories of their breathless 34-32 win over South Africa in Brighton at the 2015 World Cup.

Springboks bounce back

South Africa shrugged off defeat by New Zealand in their opening match to sweep past neighbours Namibia 57-3 at the City of Toyota Stadium.

Rassie Erasmus’ men – captained by veteran Schalk Brits playing at number eight – dominated from the off against the lowest-ranked team at the World Cup.

With university students, a brewery engineer and a qualified dentist in their part-time ranks, it was always going to be a tall order for the minnows to pull off another shock result.

Bongi Mbonambi powered over for two tries, with wing Makazole Mapimpi also claiming a brace, while Elton Jantjies booted six conversions as the Springboks made sure of both a convincing victory margin and perhaps a crucial bonus point.

Montoya at the treble

Argentina hooker Julian Montoya scored a hat-trick as the Pumas recovered from their narrow defeat to France to beat Tonga 28-12 in Osaka.

Montoya touched down twice early on, before Santiago Carreras crossed over and the hooker’s third secured a bonus point in the 25th minute.

Leicester Tigers winger Telusa Veainu scored Tonga’s first try of the tournament before the break.

The second-half was a much tighter affair, with Veainu adding another converted try, and Argentina’s attention will now be on the Pool C showdown with England.

Champagne moment

Kenki Fukuoka cemented his place in Japan's rugby folklore with a try against Ireland.
Kenki Fukuoka cemented his place in Japan’s rugby folklore with a try against Ireland (Adam Davy/PA)

Fukuoka, who plays his club rugby for the Wild Knights in Ota, was not even meant to be in the match squad, but stepped onto the bench when William Tupou sustained a late injury and Lomano Lemeki started.

After trailing 12-9 at half-time, Japan made the breakthrough in the 58th minute.

Following a scrum deep in the Ireland 22, the hosts powered through the middle before whipping the ball wide for Fukuoka to cross in the left corner.

Stat attack

Japan’s win over Ireland will see them move to an all-time high of eighth in the world rankings – which their opponents had topped coming into the tournament.

Coming up

Sunday's fixtures

  • Pool D - Georgia v Uruguay, ITV 0545 BST
  • Pool D - Australia v Wales, ITV 0810 BST

Can Wales bounce the Wallabies?

Wales have been left in no doubt of just what their showdown with Australia at Tokyo Stadium means.

Victory for either side on Sunday would see them become favourites to finish top of Pool D – and potentially open up a more straightforward route in the knockout phase.

England and New Zealand, though, are set to loom large for the losers.

“Let’s be honest, we have been preparing for this since the draw was made,” said Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards.

“I said to the players, this is a game they will remember for the rest of their lives and we want to be successful in it.”