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Wednesday, November 20, 2019 3:28:34 AM

Ireland were suffocated and strangled by the defending world champs and put in one of the most impressive performances in Rugby World Cup history. It was a humiliating end to the career of captain Rory Best and outgoing Irish coach Joe Schmidt, but New Zealand were simply magnificent.

Rugby World Cup reaction: England beat Australia to make semi

Australia attempt to run it from deep. They continually hit England defenders.

The worst disappointment before today that he has had to endure was the Champions Cup final loss to Saracens last May. The Munster out-half, who came on for Jack Carty for the final 20 minutes in his first action since suffering an ankle injury at the start of August, smashed the ball out of play when the bong rang out at the Ecopa Stadium.

At the time, I thought it was the best option.

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But the Ireland supremo suggested that in the circumstances he would take the losing bonus as the hosts caused the sensation of this competition to date, slaying the hot pool favourites.

And they held true to their pledge, thrilling the vast majority within the sweatbox Ecopa Stadium to a deserved victory that could now see them top the pool.

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Exhausted Ireland were left utterly stunned at the end. Keith Earls and James Ryan sank to their knees in disbelief, undone by a magnificent Brave Blossoms display that had echoes of their ambush of South Africa in Brighton at the last World Cup.

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Remember, it was only two years ago that an understrength Ireland team, minus their British and Irish Lions, had come to Japan and won two summer Tests in comfortable fashion.

A huge shock that has blown Pool A wide open.

Japan, you have to say, were worthy winners and go top of Pool A. And Keith Earls just manages to catch him before he got to the try line!!!

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Unbelievable scenes Japan have the advantage and are on the attack This could be a huge upset with 65 mins on the clock. A loose passage of play then sees Carty knock the ball on from a up and under and Ireland are then penalise for not rolling away. More On.

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