Shizuoka - Ireland served Japan a brutal reality check as they crushed
the Asian champions 50-22 on Saturday in the second of their three-match summer
Joe Schmidt's second-string side ran in seven tries in a
clinical performance despite the lingering effects of jet-lag and blazing heat
in Shizuoka, on Japan's Pacific coast.
"The conditions probably helped as both teams came to
play good rugby and throw the ball around," said Ireland's stand-in
skipper Rhys Ruddock.
"It was really physical and we're feeling it after
With the bulk of Ireland's usual starting line-up in New
Zealand on duty with the British and Irish Lions, a fresh crop of hungry young
players tore into Japan from the start.
Keith Earls burst clear to score Ireland's first try after
10 minutes and, with Heiichiro Ito sin-binned, Dan Leavy barged over twice
before Jack Conan also crossed as the tourists stretched their lead to 31-3 at
The Irish, who arrived in Japan earlier this week after
thrashing the United States 55-19 in New Jersey, added further tries through
Conan's second, Garry Ringrose and the effervescent Earls again after the
Fly-half Paddy Jackson slotted 13 points on six-for-six
Japan's "Brave Blossoms," who ground out a 33-21
home win over Romania last week, looked bereft of ideas in a dress rehearsal
for the 2019 World Cup, when they face Ireland in the pool stage as tournament
Ryuji Noguchi finally crossed the try line on the hour-mark
and late efforts from Kenki Fukuoka and Yutaka Nagare at least offered crumbs
of comfort for Japan, who get another crack at the Irish in Tokyo next week.
"Japan showed in the second half what they're
about," said Rudduck.
"After seeing how difficult it was to defend them in
the second half we will have to tighten up defensively next game."
Japan have never beaten Ireland and the last time they met
before Saturday was in 2005.
Asia's top side have made real progress since, shedding
their tag as World Cup pushovers by winning three games at the 2015 edition
under former coach Eddie Jones, including a stunning upset of South Africa.
But Japan rarely threatened a much-changed Ireland side,
while further ill-discipline is likely to cause concern for head coach Jamie
"It's really disappointing," said Japan captain
Shota Horie. "We have to tighten up and improve for the next game.
"Ireland are a very physical team, which is also an
area we need to compete better in as we build toward the 2019 World Cup."