Massive Rugby World Cup Upset As Japan Beats Ireland, The World's Number Two Team

Wow! Who saw that coming?

Japan just beat Ireland 19-12 at the Rugby World Cup in the city of Shizuoka. Yes, this really, really just happened.

Ireland is currently ranked number two in the world, just behind the All Blacks, and earlier this year claimed top position for a while -- a lofty ranking our own Wallabies have never held.

But the Japanese, at their home World Cup, claw their way back from a 12-3 deficit in the first half to finish stronger than the men in green.

Yes, it was the triumph of guts over class. Or if you were in a bar somewhere, Asahi over Guinness.

Or if you were in the streets of Japan, it was just a triumph.

Japan has now won both its games at this tournament, which means a first ever quarter final appearance is almost assured for the world's 10th-ranked nation -- with games against weaker opposition to come.

Japan's South African-born captain Pieter Labuschagne said he was "just proud of every boy, a great team effort".

And in case you're wondering, 10 daily contacted Cricket Australia, who told us that to the best of their knowledge, Labuschagne is no relation to Aussie cricketer Marnus who did so well in the Ashes.

This is the second World Cup in a row when Japan has pulled off a huge upset. They beat South Africa in England four years ago, in an upset so famous, they made a movie about it.

Not that Ireland captain Rory Best considered it a massive surprise.

"Anyone who is utterly shocked hasn't seen how good they are," he said.

Ireland actually scored two tries to the hosts' one, but Japan kicker Yu Tamura was deadly from all over the field, and his four penalty goals (and a conversion) were the difference.

Meanwhile the Wallabies -- who play Wales tomorrow evening -- might just be lucky they're not in Japan's pool!

Network 10 is the FTA broadcasting partner for the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

We'll be showing all Wallabies matches, including this Sunday's crucial clash against Wales, with coverage starting from 5:45 pm AEST.