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Ireland finish their summer tour with third victory

Japan 13, Ireland 35:
THEY looked home and hosed at half time but Ireland had to dig deep in the third quarter to finish their short summer tour with the requisite three victories. Japan played some beautiful rugby in that second period, the speed of their passing and their ability to launch attacks from any area of the field, caused problems for the Irish and the Cherry Blossoms certainly had the better of the second 40 minutes.
The fact that the visitors failed to score for 37 minutes of the second half must be disappointing for Joe Schmidt. They got a few chances, Andrew Conway going close and Kieran Marmion knocking the ball forward after going over the line. Ireland’s only score of the second period came from Sean Reidy with three minutes to go and Paddy Jackson’s conversion was greeted with more relief than celebration. There were some outstanding performances in the green shirt, particularly from Luke Marshall in the centre, Rhys Ruddock and Paddy Jackson but in 30+ degrees of Tokyo heat, the Irish played below expectations on this occasion.
Four converted tries gave Ireland a deserved half time lead. The first came after just three minutes, Garry Ringrose intercepting in midfield to skate through under the posts and Paddy Jackson adding the conversion. Keith Earls was involved in the second try and it was Josh van den Flier who finished the move with Jackson again finding the target from the conversion. Japan put their first points on the board with Jumpie Ogora kicking a penalty to bring the score to 3-14 but the Irish looked dangerous every time they set up an attack and the third try came when Luke Marshall showed great pace, Jack Conan carried the ball further forward and Kieran Marmion went over unopposed close to the line. Paddy Jackson’s conversion pushed the lead to 3-21 but six minutes later the home side gave their fans something to cheer about, Matsucheima skipping past the Irish defence for a try near the corner to make it 8-21.
Ireland finished the half as they had started, skipper Rhys Ruddock touching down at the back of a controlled maul by the pack and Paddy Jackson’s conversion giving his side a 28-8 interval lead.
Japan ran the ball at every opportunity in the second half and they got in for a touchdown on 46 minutes, the score being disallowed for a marginal knock-on in the build-up.

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