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Keith Earls star of the tour with a hat-trick of tries

(Simon Zebo played at full-back today)
Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka, Japan
Japan 22, Ireland 50:
JOE Schmidt will be happy with this performance as he watched his makeshift selection register their second impressive win of the short tour. Ireland’s young guns were in rare form, showing speed, guile and clinical finishing to run in seven tries. Keith Earls took off where he left off from the destruction of USA a week earlier with a hat-trick of tries while there were also tries from Gary Ringrose, Jack Conan and Dan Leavy. The Japanese responded late in the game with tries from Ryuji Noguchi, Kenki Fuknoka and Yataka Nagere.
While the opposition provided by both the USA and Japan would be regarded as weak in international terms, Ireland will be happy with the performances of their squad, some of whom were newcomers to such tours. Schmidt will have learned a lot from what he has seen over the past week and the Irish coaching team are certainly doing something right if you can judge from the scorelines of both victories. Keith Earls continues to show is class as a finisher and again on this occasion he was involved in a lot what was good about this Ireland performance.
On these performances and those of the players currently doing well on the Lions tour, the future of Irish rugby appears to be promising although the performances of the under 20s may be something that merits a closer look.
JAPAN: Ryuji Noguchi (Tokai University); Kotaro Matsushima (Suntory Sungoliath), William Tupou (Coca-Cola Red Sparks), Timothy Lafaele (Coca-Cola Red Sparks), Kenki Fukuoka (Panasonic Wild Knights), Yu Tamura (Canon Eagles), Fumiaka Tanaka (Panasonic Wild Knights); Keita Inagaki (Panasonic Wild Knights), Shota Horie (Panasonic Wild Knights) (capt), Heiichiro Ito (Yamaha Jubilo), Kotaro Yatabe (Panasonic Wild Knights), Uwe Helu (Yamaha Jubilo), Michael Leitch (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Yoshitaka Tokunaga (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Amanaki Lelei Mafi (NTT Communications).
Replacements: Yusuke Niwai (Canon Eagles), Shintaro Ishihara (Suntory Sungoliath), Takuma Asahara (Toshiba Brave Lupus), Hendrik Tui (Suntory Sungoliath), Shuhei Matsuhashi (Ricoh Black Rams), Yutaka Nagare (Suntory Sungoliath), Derek Carpenter (Suntory Sungoliath), Rikiya Matsuda (Panasonic Wild Knights).
IRELAND: Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster); Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster); Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt), Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster), Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster).
Replacements: James Tracy (UCD/Leinster), Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster), Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht), Kieran Treadwell (Ballymena/Ulster), Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster), Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht), Rory O’Loughlin (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht).
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Alex Ruiz (France)
Television Match Official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

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