Ireland maintain summer tour winning streak with defeat of Japan

Japan 22 - Ireland 50

Ireland encountered few problems to maintain their 100% record on their summer tour as they easily dealt Japan, hitting the half century mark for the second week in a row, writes John Fallon at Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka.

The game was over as a contest by the interval with Keith Earls leading the way as Ireland took Japan apart in the opening half.

Joe Schmidt’s men hit their hosts and 2019 World Cup pool opponents for 21 points when Japan tighthead Heiichiro Ito was in the bin for killing the ball.

Earls, who scored two tries in the 55-19 win over the USA, got them off the mark with the opening try after 12 minutes when he was put clear down the left by Jack Conan after Ireland turned over a Japanese scrum.

Paddy Jackson, who missed the win over the USA, landed the left wing conversion to make it 10-0, having got them off the mark with a penalty after seven minutes.

The sinbinning of Japan tighthead Ito for killing the ball after another break by Earls after 24 minutes allowed the floodgates to open, with Quinn Roux and Devin Toner coming in the lineout to send Dan Leavy over for his first international try.

Leavy got his second four minutes later after more good work by Earls and then he sent Conan over for Ireland’s fourth try.

Jackson’s touchline conversion made it five from five for the Ulster man as Ireland went in leading by 31-3 at the break.

Conan got his second try of the game six minutes after the restart before Japan responded with their best spell and were rewarded with a try from full-back Ryuji Noguchi, much to the delight of the crowd of around 30,000.

Rory O’Loughlin and Kieran Treadwell came on for their Irish debuts — making it seven new caps on this tour so far — before Garry Ringrose was sent over by Tiernan O’Halloran for Ireland’s sixth try 14 minutes from the end.

Earls got his second try to take Ireland to the half century mark for the second week in a row, with with Japan finishing on a high with late tries from winger Kenki Fukuoka and replacement scrum-half Yutaka Nagare, at a time when Ireland were down to 14 when Luke McGrath had to go off with the bench emptied.

Simon Zebo of Ireland in action against Kotaro Matsushima of Japan. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Simon Zebo of Ireland in action against Kotaro Matsushima of Japan. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Scorers for Japan:

Tries: Ryuji Noguchi, Kenki Fukuoka , Yutaka Nagare

Cons: Rikiya Matsuda (2 from 2)

Scorers for Ireland:

Tries: Dan Leavy (2), Jack Conan (2), Keith Earls (2), Garry Ringrose

Cons: Paddy Jackson (5 from 5), Rory Scannell (1 from 2)

Pens: Jackson (1 from 1)

Japan: Ryuji Noguchi; Kotaro Matsushima, William Tupou, Derek Carpenter (Ryohei Yamanaka ’67), Kenki Fukuoka; Yu Tamura (Shuhei Matsuhashi ’59), Fumiaki Tanaka (Yutake Nagare ’55); Keita Inagaki (Shintaro Ishihara ’41), Shota Horie (Yusuke Niwai ’55), Heiichiro Ito (Takuma Asahara ’59); Kotaro Yatabe, Uwe Helu (Shuhei Matsuhashi ’55); Michael Leitch, Yoshitaka Tokanuga, Amanaki Mafi (Hendrik Tui ’41).

Ireland: Simon Zebo (Tiernan O’Hallorn ’41); Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose (Kieran Marmion ’68), Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Paddy Jackson (Rory O’Loughlin ’61), Luke McGrath; Cian Healy (Dave Kilcoyne ’58), Niall Scannell (James Tracy ’55), John Ryan (Finlay Bealham ’61, Ryan ‘78); Quinn Roux, Devin Toner (Kieran Treadwell ’61); Rhys Ruddock (Jack O’Donoghue ’64-71 HIA)), Dan Leavy (O’Donoghue ’54- 59) blood), Jack Conan (O’Donoghue ’76).

Referee: M Raynal (France).

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