Ireland Hold on to Beat Japan in 2nd Test
TOKYO (June 24) – Japan’s two-test series with Ireland ended on a losing note Saturday as they went down 35-13 at Ajinomoto Stadium.
Played in front of 29,354 at the stadium that will host the opening game of Rugby World Cup 2019, the two sides – who have been grouped together in Pool A at the tournament – combined for seven tries on a hot, muggy day in the nation’s capital.
Once again it was the visitors who got off to the best start with Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier picking up early tries, as Ireland made the most of some early Japan errors.
The Brave Blossoms showed glimpses of the high-tempo game they wanted to play and Jumpei Ogura closed the gap with a penalty in the 14th minute.
But Ireland struck back with Kieran Marmion finishing off a powerful break from Jack Conan to go over three minutes later.
The score seemed to spark Japan into life and a powerful break from Uwe Helu was finished off by Kotaro Matsushima in the corner.
But it was the Irish who had the last word in the half, though, with Rhys Ruddock crossing to make it 28-8 at the break.
The second half was a much more even affair.
Japan had an early try disallowed for a knock-on before Akihito Yamada flew over in the 62nd minute after the forwards had produced some good quick ball.
With the Irish defense holding firm though, that was the end of the hosts’ scoring and the game finished with Sean Reidy crossing for Ireland’s fifth try.
The result means Japan finish the window month with one win (Romania) and two losses to their name.