Superb Japan defeat Ireland in brilliant Shizuoka clash

Head coach Joe Schmidt arrives for squad training at the Yumeria Sports Grounds in Iwata Japan

Head coach Joe Schmidt arrives for squad training at the Yumeria Sports Grounds in Iwata Japan

The Rugby World Cup exploded into life on Saturday as Japan produced one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history on home turf, stunning the highly fancied Ireland 19-12.

The result leaves Group A wide-open with Ireland, Japan and Scotland all in with a chance of topping the group.

"You are just well beaten at that stage".

"Ultimately, they'll have to wait for the result of the final group game between Japan and Scotland if you take for granted that Japan win their remaining game before that".

"It's very disappointing. It's not the end of the tournament, they can still top the pool but they have some amount of work if they're even thinking about getting beyond the quarter-final". "They stretched us and got really good width and depth, and I suppose we're going to have to regroup and take the learnings from it. The boys will have a couple of beers tonight".

As fireworks lit up the Shizuoka sky in front of Japan's exuberant fans dressed in red and white, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt admitted his team "stopped playing" after their 12-3 lead.

"Not too sure exactly but I think they put us under pressure in the right areas and our ill-discipline let them gradually keep building into the game with the points they were putting up", he said post-match.

"I think that the officials are going to be as nailed-on as they possibly can be and Angus is no different from any other official this weekend".

"They looked very flat, they replaced the two props after 45 minutes. We knew how good Ireland were and how strong they were".

"We obviously had a lot of belief in our game plan and in what we wanted to do". The 27-year-old late bloomer, who started his first test last month and was not part of the Ireland set up until this year's Six Nations, found the unsafe Garry Ringrose with a pinpoint crossfield kick for the first try on 14 minutes and a dink over the top seven minutes later put Rob Kearney in.

A crowd of 47,813 watched the match at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, with the noise reaching nearly deafening levels when Japan began to gain the upper hand in the second half.

For Ireland's current crop of players, putting the finger on why they lost was hard.

Kotaro Matsushima, hat-trick hero of Japan's 30-10 win over Russian Federation in last week's tournament curtain raiser, posed an early threat on as Japan edged a cagey opening.

Japan has to win Pool A to set up a possible meeting with South Africa, who by token of their first-up loss to New Zealand have to beat Italy and Canada to secure second in their pool.

Erasmus blamed the humidity in Japan for his team's at times error-riddled performance against Namibia, and he pointed out that the Brave Blossoms' familiarity with the conditions has played into their hands.

Scotland were poor by their own admission against the Irish and coach Gregor Townsend changed his entire backrow for their now critical clash against the Samoans on Monday.

"Out on the field, there was wave after wave coming at us, especially in the second half", said loose forward Pieter Labuschagne, who captained Japan with Leitch dropped to the bench.

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