The Latest: Japan rises up rankings after upsetting Ireland
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 9 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
Spirits were high and the ranking was rising. While fans were celebrating up and down the length of the country after the Rugby World Cup hosts upset Ireland 19-12, the sport’s governing body revealed the result meant Japan’s ranking would reach an all-time high.
Supporters were calling it the sequel to the so-called Miracle of Brighton, when Japan upset two-time World Cup champion South Africa in England in 2015 in the biggest upset in the tournament’s history. This time, on home soil, Japan rallied from 12-3 down to beat Ireland in the shocker in Shizuoka. It also lifted Japan to a record high No. 8 in the World Rugby rankings.
Japan went close to reaching the last eight at the 2015 World Cup but just missed out. This time, reaching the quarterfinals is the goal, and Japan is leading Pool A with group games remaining against Samoa and Scotland.
Ireland started the tournament with the No. 1 ranking but lost top spot when defending champion New Zealand beat South Africa. The Irish have now slid to No. 4.