Japan pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history on Saturday, September 19, defeating two-time World Cup champions South Africa 34-32 in a ferocious encounter at Brighton Community Stadium. Replacement Karne Hesketh raced in at the corner in the 84th minute to snatch victory from a pulsating contest in the Pool B opener.
Georgia held out for a surprise 17-10 win over Tonga in a bruising and scrappy game at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium on Saturday, September 19.
The opening match of Pool C saw Georgia take a 10-3 lead into halftime with a try from their captain Mamuka Gorgodze and a penalty from veteran fullback Merab Kvirikashvili. Handling errors plagued both teams in the second half, but flanker Giorgi Tkhilaishvili managed to touch down for Georgia’s second try with the Tongan defence stretched after a meandering run from Kvirikashvili.
Tonga, who are ranked four places above Georgia, snatched a late consolation try through winger Fetu’u Vainikolo after they had two previous efforts disallowed.