CM – Farrell’s Ireland breaks the line in the fight against exciting Japan


A JULY TEST maybe, but this was a real international test for Andy Farrell’s Ireland when wonderfully skillful Japan drove them all the way in Dublin.

Jamie Joseph’s men shocked Ireland at the 2019 World Cup on home soil and there were signs that they might cause a surprise on Irish soil as well, as they played a stellar attack rugby to temporarily divide Farrell’s men.

Ireland lacked seven Lions away players and a few more due to injury or break, but Farrell had still chosen the strongest and most experienced team available to him as he predicted a close encounter with the Brave Blossoms.

He will have been frustrated to see them Mistakes made by his own team in defense, lineups and restarts help Japan remain competitive, but the Irish boss will be satisfied too Be it that his team scored five tries and solidified with an A to get over the line victory.

The back row of Caelan Doris, man of the game Josh van der Flier, and Peter O’Mahony were impressive, while full-back Hugo Keenan was once again a rock in his hand. It was also encouraging for Gavin Coombes that he picked up his first international match from the bench late, even if he had hoped for more than nine minutes. Craig Casey only had 90 seconds.

Chris Farrell, Stuart McCloskey, Finlay Bealham, van der Flier and Jacob Stockdale all crossed for Irish trials – four of them came from lineout platforms – but it was the Japanese attack, which attracted the most attention.

They gained many more fans here with inventive rugby that was sparked by players like Yu Tamura and center Timothy Lafaele. It’s a shame on them that they injured key player Kazuki Himeno before kick-off.

While Ireland may clash with the US next weekend, Japan has shown it is here to be some of the main entertainers of the Game.

Stuart McCloskey scored a try for Ireland in the first half.

Source: Gary Carr / INPHO

Japan were unsurprisingly out of the blocks when a couple of sloppy Irish penalties got them into play. Irish captain James Ryan’s lineout offensive enabled Yu Tamura to open the goal from the tee.

Ireland reacted well, however, when a strong carry by Caelan Doris from a line-up near the Japan 22 set the platform for their attempt put in the seventh minute. Scrum half Jamison Gibson-Park shot after Doris made the first strides, then Ronan Kelleher and Finlay Bealham carried in front of center Chris Farrell, who showed off his footwork.

But Ultan Dillane failed to make the restart collect after Joey Carbery turned. Japan pounced on a turnover penalty, kicked the left corner, then slashed over for a try from captain Michael Leitch.

Left winger Siosaia Fifita scorched a clever Timothy Lafaele cultivator on the left shortly after and the pressure resulted in one Another penalty for Japan to march back to Ireland 22, where their high pace and varied attack nearly triggered a try for Lafaele, whose performance was chalked as the TMO review showed Tamura’s assistant pass was forward.

Ireland missed an excellent chance of a five-meter lineout before the second quarter when Kelleher threw in a wrong turn, but took the lead again shortly after.

Timothy Lafaele finished a brilliant attempt at Japan.

Source: © INPHO

It started with Carbery hitting behind Japan and getting a lucky jump to win the ball back after it almost bounced up so the guests could possibly break off. Carbery’s post was followed by Doris, who dismissed Keenan for a big break with a great pullback pass.

Keenan hooked up with McCloskey, who found Peter O’Mahony to thunder over Japan’s debutant Semisi Masirewa and head back to McCloskey load. The center of Ulster ended with a wonderful Irish result and a 12-10 lead thanks to Kotaro Matsushima.

The Irish restart problems struck again when Dillane passed a second for Japan to take another penalty – Tamura scored this time the post – and lineout problems worsened when Japan picked up two more, the second leading to Lafaele’s attempt.

It was another miraculous attack when Japan switched back under midfield to put Tamura on the left crossed by Fifita. He beat Shane Daly – up for the injured Jordan Larmour – one on one and then matched supporter Lafaele, who showed pace and strength to get past the left.

Tamura converted, but Ireland still had time to to take the lead again before the break. Matsushima played the ball in touch to reach a first lineout platform in Japan 22.

Yu Tamura was a creative presence for Japan.

Source: Gary Carr / INPHO

Carbery was stopped on their first attack but they had a penalty and after Bealham tapped him he forced his way with a strong latch from Kelleher and Peter O’Mahony. The conversion of Carbery closed an action-packed first half with Ireland 19-17 in the lead.

Ireland lost Chris Farrell at the beginning of the second half to a head injury – Billy Burns came on and Carbery moved to the center – and lost them too Lead when the game resumed.

Keenan did initially well to attack Matsushima on Ireland’s right, but they left the shortside exposed and Japan’s half-time Tamura deftly snuck through the narrow channel and rolled one lush cultivator kick back so Fifita could collect and score.

Halftime then converted that fine attempt, but Ireland reacted well as tit-for-tat scoring resumed. Farrell’s men used the same lineout game on the right as they did on their first try, with Doris carrying and Gibson-Park shooting back to the right for big wins before Josh van der Flier put the finishing touches on the passage with power-over. Carbery’s extras left Ireland in the lead at 26:24 with 30 minutes to go and Japan then suffered the blow of losing Matsushima to injury.

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Peter O’Mahony calls for a fresh start for Ireland.

Source: Gary Carr / INPHO

Ireland gave themselves some room to score a penalty with another excellent clinical result from the lineout after a heavy chase from Wing Daly. This time Kelleher continued the first phase strongly before van der Flier and Co. thundered around the corner and narrowed the Japanese defense for Gibson-Park to shoot a long pass to Stockdale that ended in the left corner.

Japan was far from finished, however, and they delivered another classic attack by summoning an attempt from their own half. Masirewa countered and shot against a very weak Irish defense, with Amanaki Mafi and Fifita coming together in the back row to send the scrum half to Naoto Saito for a converted result.

Ireland’s desperation after the win was fueled by the Decision underlined to get three points with a penalty in the 62nd minute, which Carbery used for a 36:31 lead.

Six minutes later, the home side hit the post again when Kelleher won a breakdown penalty and Carbery scored again eight points ahead of goal.

Ireland had the serenity to see it from there, despite their decision to cut the time – and Keenan literally running away from the Japanese players – after some boos at the final whistle drew.

IRELAND: Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour (Shane Daly ’31), Chris Farrell (Billy Burns ’43), Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Joey Carbery, Jamison Gibson-Park (Craig Casey ’79); Dave Kilcoyne (Ed Byrne ’59), Rónan Kelleher (Rob Herring ’71), Finlay Bealham (John Ryan ’59); Ultan Dillane (Ryan Baird ’60), James Ryan (captain); Peter O’Mahony (Gavin Coombes ’71), Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

JAPAN: Kotaro Matsushima (Shane Gates ’51); Semisi Masirewa, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Siosaia Fifita; Yu Tamura (Rikiya Matsuda ’67), Naoto Saito (Kaito Shigeno ’67); Keita Inagaki (Craig Millar ’51), Atsushi Sakate (Kosuke Horikoshi « ), Jiwon Koo (Asaeli Ai Valu ’51); Wimpie van der Walt (Jack Cornelson ’51), James Moore; Michael Leitch (captain), Lappies Labuschagné, Tevita Tatafu (Amanaki Mafi ’54).

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