The Greatest Upsets in Rugby World Cup History

The Rugby World Cup is known for its thrilling encounters, intense competition, and unexpected outcomes. Over the years, several underdog teams have defied the odds and created history by defeating stronger opponents. In this article, we will delve into some of the greatest upsets in Rugby World Cup history.

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Fiji’s Magnificent Triumph over Wales (2007):

In 2007, Fiji produced one of their most memorable performances against Wales. From the start, it was evident that Fiji meant business as they played with flair and maintained possession well. Their incredible attacking play resulted in an outstanding try by De La Sal. Despite desperate defense by Wales, Fiji continued to dominate the game.

As time ticked away and tension rose on both sides of the field, Fiji found themselves facing a crucial lineout near their try-line. However, instead of securing possession and clearing their lines like expected from them earlier on during a similar situation where they were unable to do so; this time around through incredible determination and teamwork managed to turnover possession ensuring victory against all odds.

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Japan Shocks South Africa (2015):

Often referred to as one of the biggest upsets in rugby history, Japan’s triumph over South Africa during the 2015 World Cup sent shockwaves throughout the rugby world. Playing fearlessly against a formidable opponent like South Africa showed immense courage from Japan’s players.

The match reached its climax when Karne Hesketh scored an incredible last-minute try at Eden Park Stadium in Brighton – sealing Japan’s stunning victory over two-time champions South Africa with a final scoreline reading 34-32.

Western Samoa Stuns Wales (1991):

During the 1991 Rugby World Cup held in Cardiff Arms Park Stadium,
Western Samoa made headlines when they defeated heavily favored Wales.
Despite being labeled as underdogs, Western Samoa produced an outstanding display of skill and determination.

In this historic encounter, the game saw Timo Tagaloa scoring a crucial try in the second half followed by another from Brian Lima. These tries pushed Wales into desperate trouble. The final whistle confirmed one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history as Western Samoa emerged victorious with a scoreline of 16-13.

Tonga Overcomes France (2011):

The 2011 Rugby World Cup witnessed yet another remarkable upset when Tonga faced off against France. This match showcased Tonga’s commitment to playing attacking rugby against one of the tournament favorites.

Tonga displayed their physicality and resilience throughout the game, preventing France from gaining momentum. In a fiercely contested battle, Tonga secured victory with a final scoreline reading 19-14 – marking their greatest day in Tongan rugby history.

Uruguay Stuns Fiji (2019):

Uruguay’s stunning victory over Fiji during the 2019 Rugby World Cup was undoubtedly one for the record books. Despite being considered massive underdogs heading into this clash, Uruguay displayed immense passion and executed their game plan flawlessly.

Throughout the match, Uruguay played creative rugby while displaying exceptional support play that kept them alive in critical moments. Their relentless pursuit paid off as they emerged victorious with a thrilling scoreline of 30-27 – arguably one of the biggest upsets in recent Rugby World Cup history.


The beauty of sports lies not only in witnessing powerful teams dominate but also in experiencing unexpected twists and turns that keep us at the edge of our seats. The aforementioned matches serve as reminders that no team should be underestimated or taken lightly on any given day during Rugby World Cups or any other sporting event for that matter

These incredible upsets highlight how determination, teamwork, and strategic gameplay can lead to astonishing victories despite seemingly insurmountable odds. They inspire future generations to strive for greatness and remind us that anything is possible in the world of sports. These unforgettable moments will forever be etched in Rugby World Cup history, serving as

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