Sports

Japan Upsets New Zealand in Rugby With the Help of Awesome Pool Dance

Japan stunned rugby powerhouse New Zealand today in Rio.
August 9, 2016, 7:02pm

You don't have to follow rugby very closely to be aware of the fact that New Zealand typically dominates the sport. The All Blacks have won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015. They don't lose.

Yet there was plucky underdog Japan, holding on for a stunning 14-12 victory on the first day of rugby sevens at the Rio Olympics. The game was a tense, back-and-forth affair, with Kameli Soejima leveling the score at 12 with a try and Katsuyuki Sakai putting the Japanese ahead for good with a conversion. Japan gave New Zealand one final shot with a late lineout turnover but they held off the All Blacks to secure the improbable win.

Even Japanese player Lomano Lemeki seemed surprised by the outcome, per The Guardian: "It is unbelievable. You never see a minnow come here and beat a team which is supposed to be a gold medal contender. I am still shocked, to be honest."

Perhaps he shouldn't be so shocked. This is the second monumental upset perpetrated by Japanese rugby in the past 12 months. The Brave Blossoms defeated South Africa in the 2015 World Cup in a game The Guardian's Robert Kitson called, "…the biggest shock in rugby history, bar none, the kind of result that creates ripples beyond mere sport."

Hell, the Japanese may even have found a pre-game dance to rival New Zealand's famed haka:

As fearsome as that looks, it's nothing compared to the dazzling display of synchronized swimming the Japanese showed the world leading up to the Olympics:

You got served, New Zealand.