Japan v Ireland | Japan produced a much improved performance Saturday but it still was not enough to beat Ireland in the second game of the two-test series between the two countries.
Joe Schmidt’s side ran in five tries to two by Jamie Joseph’s team as the visitors won 35-13 at Ajinomoto Stadium in front of 29,354 fans.
“I am very proud of the way we fought to the end,” said Joseph. “In parts they overpowered up but no one gave in. We challenged them at the breakdown but our accuracy cost us. And we gave away far too many penalties, which you can’t do at test-match level.”
In the stadium that will host the opening game of Rugby World Cup 2019, it was Ireland who raced out to an early 14-0 lead on the back of tries by Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier, as the visitors made the most of some early errors form the hosts.
A penalty from Jumpei Ogura briefly closed the gap, before Ireland extended their lead with a five-pointer from Kieran Marmion following a powerful break from Jack Conan.
Japan hit back with Kotaro Matsushima going over in the corner after Uwe Helu had made inroads into the Irish midfield, before Rhys Ruddock closed the half out with Ireland’s fourth try.
“It was very hot out there and the players were fatiguing early in the game, so it was great to get a good start,” said Schmidt.
The second half started with Japan having an early try disallowed for a knock-on as they raised their game to new heights.
Akihito Yamada finally crossed in the 62nd minute after some sustained pressure and goos continuity, giving the noisy crowd hope of a remarkable comeback.
But Ireland’s defense refused to buckle and Sean Reidy crossed in the dying minutes to give the scoreboard a slightly distorted look.
“Having spoken to the players, that was very tough going,” said Schmidt. “Japan were quick off the line, tough at the tackle and made it very hard for us to win the game.”
The result means Japan finish the window month with one win (Romania) and two losses to their name and Joseph said there was much to work on, as they head towards the November test window and ultimately the 2019 World Cup that they will host.
“The game today highlights the gap between Tier 1 teams and where we are now and what we are working towards,” he said.
Photo Curtesy :JRFU
Story : Rich Freeman