Japan Fall to Ireland in 1st Test

SHIZUOKA (June 17) – Japan went down 50-22 to Ireland on Saturday in the first game of a two-test series.

Played in front of 27,381 at Ecopa Stadium, the visitors outscored Japan seven tries to three to make it 6-0 in career meetings between the two nations.

Paddy Jackson opened the scoring with a penalty in the sixth minute before Keith Earls extended the lead following a powerful Irish scrum.

Yu Tamura reduced the gap in the 14th minute with a penalty only for Ireland to take full advantage of a yellow card to Heiichiro Ito.

With Japan down to 14 men, Dan Leavy grabbed a brace of tries and Jack Conan also crossed the chalk, and with Jackson adding the conversions, it was 31-3 to Ireland at the break.

Conan grabbed his second try of the day five minutes into the second half, before Ryuji Noguchi finished off a good break from Kenki Fukuoka to go over for Japan’s first try in the 59th minute.

Garry Ringrose and Earls then extended Ireland’s lead to 50-10 before Japan finished strongly.

Kenki Fukuoka got a well-deserved try as he outflanked the Irish defense and Yutaka Nagare finished off some flowing rugby to go over in the 79th minute with Rikiya Matsuda adding a second conversion.

The two sides, who are grouped together in Pool A at Rugby World Cup 2019, meet again next week at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium.