A rugby story he will tell his sons

Campion old boy Michael Broadhurst in Japan's winning RWC team

Campion old boy Michael Broadhurst in Japan's winning RWC team

Heroes of historic win: Campion College old boy Michael Broadhurst (bearded, centre) celebrates with last-minute hero Karne Hesketh, from Napier, and their Japan teammates after Hesketh scored the sinning try in the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Japan at the Brighton Community Stadium in Brighton.

MICHAEL Broadhurst’s two young boys did not see Dad play his part in the biggest upset in the history of rugby . . . but at least one of them heard it.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Toby was woken by the commotion in the living room as mother Annabel and her parents David and Annie Butt cheered on Broadhurst and his Japan teammates from the Butts’ Matawai Road farm house in the early hours of yesterday morning.

“It was just amazing. Words can’t really describe it,” Annabel said of the experience of watching the team known as the Brave Blossoms stun Rugby World Cup heavyweights South African 34-32 in their opening pool match in Brighton.

“It felt like they had won the world cup.”

Former Campion College student Broadhurst was openside flanker in his 24th game for Japan after heading to the Land of the Rising Sun in 2009 to play professionally.

The 28-year-old played all 84 minutes of yesterday’s historic victory — only the second time Japan have won a world cup match, despite having played in every tournament since the inaugural one in 1987.

Annabel, due to give birth to their third child in December, is living with her parents at their Rakauroa farm. She, the boys and mum Annie will head to Japan in the first week of October and expects to be reunited with her husband not long after.

The reunion might be put back as Japan’s shock result has opened the door to them achieving what most thought was a virtual impossibility — qualifying for the quarterfinals.

Scotland, Samoa and the United States still stand in their way but Japan have blown the pool wide open, and one-season Poverty Bay representative and Ngatapa club player Broadhurst played an integral role in that yesterday.

He spoke to his wife after the match and was still coming to terms with the enormity of an achievement rated not only the greatest upset in rugby history, but among the greatest in sporting history.

“It was pretty awesome,” Annabel said.

“They were all on a bit of a high but were pretty exhausted as well.”

Broadhurst is not a big talker and in typically modest and understated manner told his wife they were “really pleased”.

“He said they just did everything they needed to do and everyone played really well.

“They felt like they wanted to celebrate but at the same time know they have another game in four days (against Scotland in Gloucester).”

Despite the match being in the early hours (NZ time), Annabel said she got “a few” phone calls during it, including Broadhurst’s parents Ian and Bernadette in Kaitaia.

“They were pretty excited . . . very proud.”

It has been a memorable year for the former Gisborne couple. On top of Michael’s international success, their younger son James — another ex-Campion boy — made his test debut for the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship win over South Africa at Johannesburg in July.

Having lived in Japan for several years, Annabel said the win was not only special for the players and coach Eddie Jones, but for their loyal fans.

TV coverage showed the emotional roller-coaster the fans rode, many of them weeping with joy during and after the match.

Annabel said the Japanese people did not show their emotions “walking down the street” but “let it all go” when it came to occasions like this.

“Everyone was so happy. Let’s hope the team can recover from it physically.”

Even if they don’t, this match will probably be the one for which the 2015 Rugby World Cup is remembered most.

MICHAEL Broadhurst’s two young boys did not see Dad play his part in the biggest upset in the history of rugby . . . but at least one of them heard it.

Three-and-a-half-year-old Toby was woken by the commotion in the living room as mother Annabel and her parents David and Annie Butt cheered on Broadhurst and his Japan teammates from the Butts’ Matawai Road farm house in the early hours of yesterday morning.

“It was just amazing. Words can’t really describe it,” Annabel said of the experience of watching the team known as the Brave Blossoms stun Rugby World Cup heavyweights South African 34-32 in their opening pool match in Brighton.

“It felt like they had won the world cup.”

Former Campion College student Broadhurst was openside flanker in his 24th game for Japan after heading to the Land of the Rising Sun in 2009 to play professionally.

The 28-year-old played all 84 minutes of yesterday’s historic victory — only the second time Japan have won a world cup match, despite having played in every tournament since the inaugural one in 1987.

Annabel, due to give birth to their third child in December, is living with her parents at their Rakauroa farm. She, the boys and mum Annie will head to Japan in the first week of October and expects to be reunited with her husband not long after.

The reunion might be put back as Japan’s shock result has opened the door to them achieving what most thought was a virtual impossibility — qualifying for the quarterfinals.

Scotland, Samoa and the United States still stand in their way but Japan have blown the pool wide open, and one-season Poverty Bay representative and Ngatapa club player Broadhurst played an integral role in that yesterday.

He spoke to his wife after the match and was still coming to terms with the enormity of an achievement rated not only the greatest upset in rugby history, but among the greatest in sporting history.

“It was pretty awesome,” Annabel said.

“They were all on a bit of a high but were pretty exhausted as well.”

Broadhurst is not a big talker and in typically modest and understated manner told his wife they were “really pleased”.

“He said they just did everything they needed to do and everyone played really well.

“They felt like they wanted to celebrate but at the same time know they have another game in four days (against Scotland in Gloucester).”

Despite the match being in the early hours (NZ time), Annabel said she got “a few” phone calls during it, including Broadhurst’s parents Ian and Bernadette in Kaitaia.

“They were pretty excited . . . very proud.”

It has been a memorable year for the former Gisborne couple. On top of Michael’s international success, their younger son James — another ex-Campion boy — made his test debut for the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship win over South Africa at Johannesburg in July.

Having lived in Japan for several years, Annabel said the win was not only special for the players and coach Eddie Jones, but for their loyal fans.

TV coverage showed the emotional roller-coaster the fans rode, many of them weeping with joy during and after the match.

Annabel said the Japanese people did not show their emotions “walking down the street” but “let it all go” when it came to occasions like this.

“Everyone was so happy. Let’s hope the team can recover from it physically.”

Even if they don’t, this match will probably be the one for which the 2015 Rugby World Cup is remembered most.

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