In Depth

Rugby World Cup: commentary mayhem as Japan beat South Africa

Commentators from around the world go ballistic as Karne Hesketh secures incredible upset for Japan – video

Japan's sensational last-gasp win over South Africa at the Rugby World Cup has been hailed as a "miracle" and one of the greatest upsets in the history of sport, let alone rugby union.

Before the weekend Japan had only one win at the World Cup to their name, and that came 24 years ago against Zimbabwe. 

They were facing two-times world champions South Africa, who had never lost to Japan in their history. Indeed, South Africa's only defeats at the tournament had come against fellow winners New Zealand, Australia and England. So the chances of Japan springing a surprise appeared negligible.

But with a performance that will echo down the years, the Brave Blossoms lived up to their nickname and, having turned down a penalty to level the scores in the final minute of the match, threw caution to the wind as they went in search of an unthinkable victory at the Brighton Community Stadium.

The final moments of the match will go down in sporting folklore and commentators around the world were left hollering the name of New Zealand-born try-scorer Karne Hesketh as he went over in the corner to make it 34-32 to Japan.

Understandably the Japanese commentators were beside themselves as their team secured victory. The words that accompanied the touchdown were: "Yes! Yes! Yes! They did it! Yes!"[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"84657","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

The Italian commentary team was also caught up in the moment, and even if you don't speak Italian it's pretty easy to understand the disbelieving chuckles of "No! No!" after Hesketh's score.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"84656","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Before the weekend, the French could probably lay claim to the greatest World Cup upset, after their semi-final win over New Zealand in 1999. But the commentary team seemed more than happy to pass the mantle on to Japan. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"84655","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

The reaction of the comms team in the UK was also pretty overwrought.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"84654","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

The silence from the commentary team on Fox Sport, covering the game for South Africa, after the try was a stark contrast.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"84653","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

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