Japan vs. South Africa 2015

At the time of writing, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont has reportedly promised the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) that Japan will become a Tier One Nation, making it the first Asian country to do so. Japan has appeared in all nine editions of the Rugby World Cup so far, but ‘The Brave Blossoms’ have endured a roller-coaster ride, with several humiliating defeats at the hands of Australia and New Zealand.

However, on September 19, 2015, at the Community Stadium in Falmer, on the outskirts of Brighton, Japan enjoyed arguably its finest hour on the rugby field. Having not won a game at the Rugby World Cup since 1991, Japan lined up against two-time Rugby World Cup winners South Africa in the opening match of Pool B in the 2015 Rugby World Cup; what followed would later be dubbed ‘The Brighton Miracle’. The magnitude of the win eclipsed anything seen in a South Africa online casino.

Japan scored their first try to lead 10-7 after 29 minutes but, after full-back Ayumu Goromaru converted his own try to tie the scores 29-29 after 68 minutes, replacement fly-half Handré Pollard put the Springboks back in front, 32-29, with just eight minutes remaining. As the match ticked into injury time, Japan were awarded a penalty which, if successful, would have drawn the match. Captain Michael Leitch opted instead for a scrum, which led to replacement wing Karne Hesketh scoring a last-gasp winning try on the left flank to seal one of the all-time great sporting upsets. In their shoes I’d be celebrating on usa real money casinos, but I expect the players are more disciplined than I am!

New Zealand 145 Japan 17 1995

The Japan National Rugby Team, nicknamed ‘Brave Blossoms’, has appeared at every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987 and, having proven themselves one of the strongest ‘Tier 2’ countries over the decades, were recently promoted to ‘Tier 1’ status by World Rugby. However, on June 4, 1995, at Free State Stadium, a.k.a. Toyota Stadium, in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Japan suffered an embarrassing 145-17 defeat at the hands of New Zealand (neighbours of the aussies, home of sun, sea, surf sand and australia online casino), which remains the highest points tally in the history of the Rugby World Cup.

Fresh from a spirited, but ultimately losing, encounter with Ireland at the same venue, Japan faced a second-string All Blacks side, without first-choice wing Jonah Lomu – who still holds the record, albeit jointly, for the most tries scored in the Rugby World Cup – to name but one. Nevertheless, even with a so-called ‘B’ team, the All Blacks set about dismantling their lightweight opponents in a display of ruthless professionalism. Winger Eric Rush opened the scoring with the first of his three tries after just two minutes and, by half-time, New Zealand were already out of sight, leading 84-3, with the only Japanese points coming from the boot of fly-half Keiji Hirose.

All told, the All Blacks scored 21 tries, of which outside centre Marc Ellis contributed six, which is still a world record. Fly-half Simon Culhane, deputising for the rested Andrew Mehrtens, was successful with all bar one of his conversions attempts and also scored a try, for an individual points total of 45, the highest in the history of the Rugby World Cup. If I could translate that success rate to new online casinos, I’d be quids in!

Watch New Zealand vs Japan Highlights

England Wins Rugby World Cup 2003

Prior to 2003, England already had a respectable record in the Rugby World Cup, reaching the quarter-final stages in the inaugural tournament in 1987 and again in 1999, finishing in fourth place in 1995 and going down 12-6 to Australia in their first appearance in a Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium, London in 1991.

In 2003, England completed a ‘Grand Slam’ in the Six Nations Championship with a 42-6 victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin and headed to the Rugby World Cup in Australia as ante post favourites and – as later confirmed by International Rugby Board (IRB) World Rankings, which began during the tournament – the best team in the world. Indeed, England easily topped Pool C with 19 points, including three bonus points, which were introduced for the first time in 2003, and a points difference of +208.

In the quarter-final, England recovered from a 10-3 first half deficit against Wales, thanks in no small part to the boot of fly-half Johnny Wilkinson, eventually winning 28-17, albeit in unconvincing style. Wilkinson, once again, came to the fore in the 24-7 semi-final victory over France, kicking five penalties and three drop goals in a match played in wet, windy conditions.

In the final, England faced hosts, and holders of the Webb Ellis Trophy, Australia, who had scored a surprise 22-10 victory over New Zealand in the other semi-final. England led 14-5 at half-time, courtesy of three Wilkinson penalties and an unconverted try scored by wing Jason Robinson. England dominated possession in the second half, but failed to score and were pegged back by three penalties kicked by fly-half Elton Flatley, including one in the final minute of normal time. With the scores tied at 14-14, the final headed into extra time; Wilkinson and Flatley traded penalties to take the score to 17-17 but, deep in extra time, Wilkinson kicked a right-footed drop goal to win the Rugby World Cup for England, 20-17.

Watch England Win the 2003 Rugby World Cup