Japan came up well short in their first test with Ireland on Saturday, going down 50-22 to Ireland in front of 27,381 fans at Ecopa Stadium.
The visitors were simply too powerful, fast and skillful for Japan, who managed to restore some respectability with two late tries.
Keith Earls, Dan Leavy and Jack Conan all touched down twice, Paddy Jackson kicked five conversions and a penalty from as many attempts and Rory Scannell added the extras to a try by Garry Ringrose as Ireland notched up a half century.
In reply, Ryuji Noguchi Kenki Fukuoka and Yutaka Nagare crossed the chalk for Japan with Rikiya Matsuda kicking two conversions and Yu Tamura a penalty.
“I thought it was the best week of preparation we had had,” said Japan coach Jamie Joseph. “But to beat one of the best teams in the world you have to execute well, apply yourselves and you need to be desperate. And we were not desperate enough.”The game opened with both sides looking to run the ball but Ireland soon got the upperhand with Earls crossing for a try following a powerful scrum on halfway.
The game opened with both sides looking to run the ball but Ireland soon got the upperhand with Earls crossing for a try following a powerful scrum on halfway.
With Jackson adding the conversion to an earlier penalty and Tamura bisecting the poles, it was 10-3 when the game turned in the 24th minute.
Heiichiro Ito was shown a yellow card for repeated team infringements and the visitors made the most of their numerical advantage with three tries to make it 31-3 at the break as Earls provided the pace and skill and Leavy and Conan the power and good support play.
“On the back of our strong scrum we controlled a lot of the first half,” said Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.
The second half saw the sides score three tries apiece with Japan’s bench helping the Brave Blossoms finish the stronger of the two sides to give the home crowd some hope heading into next week’s encounter at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium.
“We saw how dangerous Japan are when given time and space on the ball. They were super in the last quarter of the game,” said Schmidt.
Japan captain Shota Horie said his side had simply made far too many mistakes.
“We had the right tactics and strategy but failed to implement them,” he said.
Japan v Ireland
Story: Rich Freeman
Photo credit : John Gunning – Inside Sport: Japan