A nation united in belief as host Japan secures famous victory

Updated 10:40 AM EDT, Sat October 5, 2019
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Ayumu Goromaru of Japan ceelbrates scoring the second try during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Japan at the Brighton Community Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Brighton, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
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BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Ayumu Goromaru of Japan ceelbrates scoring the second try during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Japan at the Brighton Community Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
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YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 02: Siya Kolisi of South Africa lifts the Web Ellis cup following his team's victory against England in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on November 02, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
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YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 02: Siya Kolisi of South Africa lifts the Web Ellis cup following his team's victory against England in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on November 02, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
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South Africa's Siya Kolisi attends a training session at the Arcs Urayasu Park in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture on September 16, 2019, ahead of the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)
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South Africa's Siya Kolisi attends a training session at the Arcs Urayasu Park in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture on September 16, 2019, ahead of the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)
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MONTECASINO, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 08:  Siya Kolisi, the first non white, captain of the South Africa Springboks poses with head coach Rassie Erasmus during the South Africa media session held at the Pivot Hotel on June 8, 2018 in Montecasino, South Africa.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05:  Roger Federer of Switzerland returns a shot against Andy Murray of Great Britain during the Men's Singles Tennis Gold Medal Match on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on August 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Japan supporters celebrate their team's third try  during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Japan and Scotland at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on October 13, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Japan supporters celebrate their team's third try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Japan and Scotland at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on October 13, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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New Zealand's scrum-half Aaron Smith (C) is hugged by New Zealand's fly-half Richie Mo'unga (2nd R) after scoring a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between New Zealand and Ireland at the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo on October 19, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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New Zealand's scrum-half Aaron Smith (C) is hugged by New Zealand's fly-half Richie Mo'unga (2nd R) after scoring a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between New Zealand and Ireland at the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo on October 19, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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A Japan fan has the national team's jersey painted on as he arrives for the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Japan and Ireland at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa in Shizuoka on September 28, 2019. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
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New Zealand's wing Sevu Reece catches the ball during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between New Zealand and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on September 21, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
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CNN —  

As the clock ticked down in Shizuoka, the TV coverage zoomed in on the faces of the Ireland players. They looked shocked - but not half as much as we all did.

However, there was one man who had almost predicted Japan’s shock win.

Hours earlier, I had been interviewing one of rugby’s all-time greats, George Gregan. He played in four Rugby World Cups, winning the 1999 tournament with Australia.

Gregan finished his career living and playing in Japan and told me told me the nation believes it can win. He wasn’t talking about the Ireland game, he meant the whole tournament.