So much for worrying about whether it will be New Zealand or South Africa in the quarter finals of the World Cup. Now, Ireland have find themselves in a position of whether they will get there or not in the first place.
A 19-12 defeat to Japan in the Shizuoka Stadium in front of 47,813 spectators, puts the host country within touching distance of the quarter finals. Gregor Townsend, the Scottish head coach, now has a bigger mountain to climb then he would have envisaged.
In today’s match, Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney contributed to a 12-3 lead after 20 minutes, and while it didn’t look unassailable, Japan chipped away with Yu Tamura closing the deficit to three points at half-time.
After the break, the wave of momentum showed no signs of abating, Ireland defended but the energy and swagger of their opponents was too much, Kenki Fukuoka crossing the line to send the home support into dreamland.
Tamura converted to make it 16-12, and added another penalty in the 71st minute to secure a famous victory for Japan.
Pool A has opened up, and with Japan’s victory, new life injected into a tournament criticized in some quarters for lacking in intensity and competitiveness.
More reaction to follow