Few things can inspire raw emotions like a surprising result at a sporting event, and the world's rugby fans were treated to one of the biggest upsets in the history of their sport Saturday when Japan upset heavily favored South Africa in the opening rounds of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. 

The Brave Blossoms, who were given 33:1 odds to beat the Springboks by some sports books, went ahead in added time when replacement back Karne Hesketh scored late to give the Japanese side, which had never beaten its opponent in international competition, a 34-32 victory. 

On social media, South African fans and media outlets reacted with a mix incredulity and sadness. 





Ag sies tog Bokke. What happened?.

Posted by Adrienne Hollins on Saturday, September 19, 2015

And while the shock of the result reverberated around the world, its impact was felt most in South Africa. 

JapanSAreax_MikeHutchings_Reuters In Cape Town, a Springboks fan experiences a sinking feeling. Photo: Mike Hutchings / Reuters

The South Africans' amazement was the culmination of nearly two hours of surprises. Though South Africa was not favored to win the tournament -- it is New Zealand's to lose, according to the experts -- few expected Japan to put up a credible resistance, much less give the Springboks a game. Every Japanese try was greeted with surprise by sports media. 


Still, Japan ultimately won, and as the result was announced inside the stadium, the scene on the field was one that instantly entered the annals of sports lore.

And fans, some of whom had traveled thousands of miles to Brighton for the match, were overcome. 



Japan will face Scotland Wednesday.