Japan hero Hesketh: ‘It’s so special’

Date published: September 21 2015

Karne Hesketh, whose try sealed the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history when Japan defeated South Africa, said the result was "so special."

Hesketh was put in for a try in the corner well into stoppage time at the AMEX Stadium in Brighton on Saturday.

Sparking emotional scenes around the stadium, Hesketh said that scoring such an important try was something he could have never predicted.

"Before that game, just being involved in the World Cup was the pinnacle of my career. To be part of something like last night is so special," he said.

"I could never imagine. I remember crossing the line and thinking, ‘We’ve done it.’

"Just immense happiness and pride, and to be lucky enough to be on the end of that. It was special."

Hesketh added that while the win was a momentous moment for Japan, the team didn't celebrate too wildly ahead of facing Scotland on Wednesday.

The New Zealand-born back added that the messages of congratulations from around the world had been overwhelming.

"By the time we got to the team hotel it was pretty late. We had a team dinner and celebrated together," he said.

"We had a couple of beers but we had to control it. As much as we wanted to celebrate, it’s not the only job we came to do.

"Just from the messages of support we received, it’s enormous. Not just from New Zealand (where Hesketh was born and raised) and back home in Japan, but from worldwide. It’s awesome."

Despite scoring the winning try, Hesketh said that should the decsion have been his, he would have likely kicked for goal to secure a draw.

"I can't remember the decision happening…I just sort of thought it was strange that we were going for a scrum when we had the chance to draw," he added.

"It paid off in the end. It was worth it."