Japanese fans celebrate a famous win over South Africa. Photo: EPA
The rugby world has reacted with praise and astonishment after Japan pulled off the biggest upset in the sport’s history with a last-gasp victory over South Africa in their opening game of the World Cup.
As Japanese sports fans digested the enormity of their compatriots’ feat in Brighton in the small hours of Sunday morning, rugby stars past and present took to social media to applaud the tactical brilliance of the Brave Blossoms and their Australian coach, Eddie Jones.
Legend: Brian Lima in action for Samoa in Melbourne during the 2003 World Cup. Photo: Craig Golding, SMH
Almost a quarter of a century ago, in the pool rounds of the 1991 rugby World Cup, Western Samoa pulled off one of rugby’s biggest upsets when they beat the once-mighty Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.
It was a result that shook rugby’s established world order to the core, offering a first-hand look at the awesome, largely untapped potential of the Pacific Islanders as well as the decline of Wales, one of the sport’s traditional powers.