Japan stun Ireland at Rugby World Cup to send home nation into raptures

Japan produced one of the greatest upsets in Rugby World Cup history after defeating Ireland in a thrilling clash in Shizuoka.

After falling behind to two tries, the Brave Blossoms came storming back to take the match 19-12.

The home crowd hailed their heroes at the final whistle, as Japan celebrated a famous win over the Six Nations giants.

Japan, behind at half-time, kept on coming, time and again, and eventually Kenki Fukuoka crossed in the left corner.

CJ Stander collided with Chris Farrell in a bungled break from a scrum, gifting Japan the scrum deep in the Ireland 22.

The pumped-up hosts lapped up the chance, powering through the middle before whipping the ball wide.

Tamura's fine conversion then put Japan into a 16-12 lead on the hour and they scored a late penalty to see out the win.

Japan's famous victory, immediately invoking memories of their breathless 34-32 win over South Africa in Brighton in 2015.

Joe Schmidt's Ireland would have expected to move from their potent 27-3 win over Scotland and press through to top Pool A for a quarter-final against South Africa.

If Japan could repeat this level of performance however, it could be the Brave Blossoms who top the pool, with the hosts having already bested Russia 30-10.

Irish forwards trudge off the field following the surprise loss. Credit: AP

It had all started so well for Ireland as Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney bagged early tries as their clear plan to expose Japan's failings under the high ball paid good dividend.

Jack Carty had a fine first-half in deputising for Johnny Sexton on just his second Test start.

But Japan refused to let Ireland gain any control through the dominance of possession, and the hosts' relentless pace caught boss Schmidt's men off guard.