World Cup Shock as South Africa Lose to Japan at 1/500 Odds

Rugby World Cup 2015

It seems that 2015 was a year in which the bookies learned the hard way the damage that super long and super short odds can do.

This was the same year that Leicester City kicked off their successful Premier League campaign at odds of 5,000/1, but before that remarkable moment would come to pass, the Rugby world would be the scene of odds defying events.

In the very first game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the famous two time champions, South Africa, took on the little fancied Japan at the Brighton Community Stadium.

Although successful on their own continent, Japan were without a win in their last 18 World Cup games, their last coming way back in 1991, so you can understand why they were expected to get a thumping.

In fact, they were at odds of 90/1 to win the match, and so convinced were the bookies that the Springboks would be victorious, their odds to win were a ridiculous 1/500.

Anyone taking those odds would need to put up £2,500 just to win a fiver, so it’s safe to assume that next to nobody made that bet.

Japan did have one thing going for them though, aside from their steely determination; their coach was Eddie Jones, who was on the coaching staff for South Africa during their 2007 World Cup win.

How Japan Defeated South Africa

Although it was a close finish, that’s not because Japan were struggling against their opponents.

They started the game with strength and pace, scoring a penalty early on before going 7-3 down after South Africa scored a try and converted it in the 18th minute.

Japan hit back with a try of their own around the half hour mark though, before their opponents scored a succession of tries that Japan could only answer with more penalties.

They came back eventually with a second try of their own in the 69th minute, bringing the score level at 29-29, but frustratingly the Springboks edged the lead 4 minutes later with a penalty after Japan heroically defended their line from a very close call.

In the dying minutes of the game, with the score still at 32-29, Japan twice had the chance to settle for a draw, but both times chose to battle for the win instead.

It paid off.

In the 4th minute of extra time, a fantastic play saw replacement wing, Karne Hesketh, make a last gasp dive over the line, scoring a try with just inches to spare and earning Japan a well deserved win, beating the Springboks 32-34.

It was an astonishing and dramatic end to a brilliant game, and this despite the Springboks fielding their most experienced team in history, with 851 caps between them.

Japan would not go on to the quarter finals, despite winning 3 of their 4 games in Pool B, and South Africa would finish the competition in 3rd place, but no one can ever take that win in Brighton away from them.

Bravo Japan.