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South Africa vs Japan as it happened - a look back at an historic day in Brighton

PUBLISHED: 12:24 21 September 2015 | UPDATED: 12:45 21 September 2015

The Webb Ellis Cup by Antonio Cinotti under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence ( via

The Webb Ellis Cup by Antonio Cinotti under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence ( via


As if being a host city for a global event wasn’t enough, Brighton and its Community Stadium (its name during the Rugby World Cup) played host to one of the great sporting shocks

Saturday 19 September is a day that will go down in rugby history as overwhelming favourites South Africa were beaten 32-34 by Japan at the Brighton Community Stadium. We take a look back at this historic day...

The friendly atmosphere was apparent from the get-go as supporters from all over the world mixed at Brighton Fanzone


That was mirrored up the road as fans began to arrive at the stadium and players started to warm up


The match ball arrived


Then came the moment players and officials stepped out onto the turf in front of a packed house


With the scores at 7-3 in favour of South Africa, Michael Leitch scored Japan’s first try of the game and his side were unbelievably in front


After a second South African try, the score at half time was 12-10 to the Springboks


The crowd didn’t know it yet, but they were about to witness one hell of a second half


South Africa had relative control of a large chunk of the second half. A couple of tries for the Springboks and a handful of penalties for both sides meant the scores stood at 29-22 with 15 minutes to play


Just a few minutes later, Japan stunned South Africa after a try and conversion. The scores were level at 29-29


With the scores at 32-29 after a penalty from the Springboks, the clock went past the 80 minute mark with Japan in possession. The rest, they say, is history...


One picture summed up the emotion right across the stadium


And another summed up the respect in the sport


This continued all the way back to Brighton station with South Africa fans giving the Japanese supporters a guard of honour


Well done Japan! What. A. Day!



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