RUGBY: Ireland got a tough examination from Japan says Joe Schmidt

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was relieved to see his side clinch a hard-fought 35-13 victory over Japan at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

Saturday, 24th June 2017, 11:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:24 am
Japan's Kotaro Matsushima (13) celebrates with teammate Akihito Yamada after scoring a try against Ireland

Tries from Garry Ringrose, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion and Rhys Ruddock established a commanding 28-8 half-time lead, but the visitors wilted in the heat and high humidity after the break.

Ireland were kept scoreless for the majority of the second half, with substitute flanker Sean Reidy adding a late try.

The win completes a clean sweep on Ireland’s summer tour following a 55-19 victory over the US Eagles in New Jersey and a 50-22 win against the Brave Blossoms last Saturday.

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Japan's players look dejected after Ireland scored a try

“Having spoken to the players, that was very, very tough going,” said Schmidt.

“The Japanese defence came very quick off the line, very effective in the tackle and made the day very hard work.

“It was very hot out there, the players were fatiguing early in the game, so it was great to get a good start and hang on at the finish.”

Ireland were looking on course to bring up another half-century against Japan thanks to another powerful first-half display, but the hosts came roaring back into the contest after the break.

Japan's players look dejected after Ireland scored a try

Led by inspirational captain Michael Leitch, Japan were much improved in the second half with Kotaro Matsushima scoring a well-worked try to add to wing Akihito Yamada’s earlier effort.

“I think we got exactly what we expected, it was very tough, very physical,” noted Schmidt.