Hosts Japan pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Rugby World Cup history as they beat world number two-ranked Ireland 19-12 in Shizuoka.
Tries from Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney saw Ireland lead at the break, although three Yu Tamura penalties kept the game to within one score.
Replacement Kenki Fukuoka dived over in the corner on 59 minutes to put the Brave Blossoms in front.
Tamura’s 72nd-minute penalty sealed a monumental win.
Not since Japan’s win over South Africa four years ago in Brighton has rugby witnessed a result that will resound around the world in the way this one will.
This was not a result borne of Irish indiscipline or stage fright, but of a truly stunning Japanese performance in front of a cacophonous crowd that lifted their side with a stunning noise that greeted every metre gained, tackle made and turnover won.
It is a result that will, regardless of what happens in the next six weeks of rugby, leave a legacy for generations to come, and will send rugby into a new stratosphere of popularity within the country.
Hosts stay true to attacking philosophy
From the start, it became clear that Japan had no interest in curtailing their fast-paced, free-moving mantra against one of the game’s most-respected defences.
Only a bad bounce denied Kotaro Matsushima an opening try after four minutes as the hosts stretched Ireland’s defence from left to right before Tamura’s kick behind nearly paid off.
It looked as though Ireland had weathered an early storm, as Ringrose and Kearney’s tries eight minutes apart looked to have bought the favourites some breathing space that could have quietened the Japanese majority inside Stadium Ecopa.
However, the fans and the team were unrelenting and Japan did not turn to a Plan B.
Another lightning-fast move from left to right, a slick one-handed offload from Timothy Lafaele and a kick in behind saw Matsushima again denied by a bouncing ball which this time favoured Josh van der Flier, who did well to set up an Irish exit from under their own posts.
The introduction of Michael Leitch, Japan’s already legendary captain whose relegation to the bench was the cause of some controversy in the build-up, sent excitement levels in the stadium to a new level after 31 minutes.
Leitch responded immediately with a shuddering clear-out of Rob Kearney as Japan pressed forward, carrying the momentum towards half-time.
The pressure was eventually rewarded as van der Flier was pinged for impatience at the breakdown, allowing Tamura to narrow the gap to three points at half-time.
The second half carried on in the same way the first had ended: Japan attack, Ireland repel.
The familiar signs that tend to crop-up when Ireland are not functioning began to re-appear – missed line-outs, dropped catches and a knock-on after winning a scrum inside their own 22 as the pressure continued to build.
From the scrum, Japan went left and Fukuoka was sent over in the corner.
In other news – Minnie Dlamini’s brother Khosini has died
After several weeks in ICU, Minnie Dlamini-Jones’ brother Khosini has died, his family confirmed on Friday morning. Khosini had been suffering from a brain aneurysm and was placed on life support earlier this month.