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Dublin: 1 °C Monday 19 March, 2018


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Hello and welcome to The42‘s live coverage of Ireland’s second 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup fixture, which sees them face Japan in Pool C.

We’re live from the Belfield Bowl, with three reporters to hand, and we’ll be keeping you up to date with all of the action. Kick-off is at 5.15pm (live on RTÉ). #BringIt

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The Bowl is starting to fill up now, but many supporters are yet to filter in from the fanzone outside. The music is blaring, the sea of green is starting to gather, it’s set to be a good one!

Here’s how Tom Tierney has named his Ireland side:

15. Mairead Coyne
14. Hannah Tyrrell
13. Katie Fitzhenry
12. Sene Naoupu
11. Alison Miller
10. Nora Stapleton
9. Nicole Cronin

1. Lindsay Peat
2. Cliodhna Moloney
3. Ciara O’Connor
4. Ciara Cooney
5. Sophie Spence
6. Ciara Griffin
7. Ashleigh Baxter
8. Claire Molloy (capt)


16. Leah Lyons
17. Ruth O’Reilly
18. Ailis Egan
19. Paula Fitzpatrick
20. Anna Caplice
21. Larissa Muldoon
22. Jeamie Deacon
23. Louise Galvin

We’ll have any late changes though, as well as a team sheet with today’s opposition.

The teams are on the pitch, the anthems have been sung, we’re ready for battle.

And we’re off. It’s time for the rugby to do the talking.


2 mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: Positive start from Ireland, as they charge at Japan. The crowd are showing their support, it’s loud!


5mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: Japan are standing up to the home side. Things are physical out there. There are some early nerves, but both sides are settling into this one.


8mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: No panic in the Irish defence with the early Japan threat. Big hit from Naoupu, as Stapleton finds touch. Poor start for Ireland from a lineout point of view though, lost two.


11mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: Fantastic scrum by Japan. There are changes in the pack we must note, but they’re running into a bit of difficulty. Japan are playing well, putting pressure on Tierney’s charges. This looks like it’s going to be tight.


13mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: This is Nicole Cronin’s first 15s outing for Ireland, and she’s really stepping up to the mark. Massive improvement in the Ireland lineout meanwhile, they’ve won their first of three.


16mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: Penalty for the hosts, to which Stapleton finds touch. Everytime Ireland kick, they’re putting pressure on Japan. Molloy takes the lineout and Ireland drive towards the 22. Brilliant block by Stapleton, which lifts the crowd.


19mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: Knock-on Ireland, so it’s a scrum for Japan. Japan charge at Ireland, while Tyrrell retreats back. Before that, Mairead Coyne went in for a crunching challenge, and we’re gone to the TMO. The challenge was made just outside the 22, and it’s a scrum from there. Coyne can count herself lucky to escape a yellow card.


21 mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: Great work from Miller to win the ball back. Penalty for Ireland, and Stapleton finds touch. Ireland keep the ball from the lineout, and they’re looking slightly more promising on the attack.


23 mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: High tackle from Peat — Ireland need to be careful, because the next one could be a card. Japan launching another attack here, crunching tackle from Moloney. Rings of ‘Ireland, Ireland’ around the ground as the pressure mounts on the hosts.


25 mins – Ireland 0-0 Japan: The ball is knocked on by Coyne inside the 22 as Ireland break. Seconds later and Japan are flying, but Tsutsumi loses control as she nears the line. A forward pass means an Ireland scrum inside their own 22.


27 mins – Ireland 0-7 Japan: PENALTY TRY for Japan! Penalty for Japan in front of the post, they opt for the scrum, and they dominate. Serious confidence from Japan. Ireland need to lift it.


29 mins – Ireland 0-7 Japan: Ailis Egan is on for Ciara O’Connor. Japan are oozing confidence through their scrum — they’ve won all of their eight, while Ireland have only won one of their three.


32mins – Ireland 0-7 Japan: Ireland are really feeling the pressure here, while Japan have grown into this game and gained confidence. They’re really testing Coyne, who’s made a couple of errors and they’re capitalising.


35 mins – Ireland 0-7 Japan: Substitute Egan is already making an impact, chasing for challenges. Japan are eagerly moving the ball fast, Ireland need to start driving them back more. They’re about 5m short of the line.


37 mins – Ireland 0-7 Japan: Yamamoto opts to kick the ball into air and under the post, there’s a scramble, and the TMO is needed. Scrum for Japan just inside the 22. Aya Nakajima is substituted in.


38 mins – Ireland 0-14 Japan: TRY number two for Japan, it’s Shimizu at the end of some clever play and missed tackles. The kick is converted and Ireland are in big trouble.


40 mins HALF TIME – Ireland 0-14 Japan: Ireland lose contol of the ball, and they’ll finish the opening half scoreless.


The teams are back out, and there looks to be a few changes on the Ireland side. We need a big second half.


41 mins – Ireland 0-14 Japan: We’re back underway — Peat and Moloney have been replaced by Leah Lyons and Ruth O’Reilly.


43 mins – Ireland 0-14 Japan: Ireland are down to 14. Katie Fitzhenry is gone — she’s shown a yellow card for a high tackle.


44 mins – Ireland 0-14 Japan: Decent kick from Stapleton as Ireland gather momentum. The Japanese player wins it, but Miller blocks down. The pressure is on, Ireland look more aggressive. They’re near the line.


45 mins – Ireland 5-14 Japan: TRY FOR IRELAND! Alison Miller lands the ball and we’re off the mark! The crowd goes wild.


46 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan: Stapleton makes no mistake with the conversion. Different game now!


48 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan: Louise Galvin and Paula Fitzpatrick have also been introduced, the substitutes are paying dividends as Ireland have really lifted their game. Roars around the Bowl as Ciara Griffin puts serious pressure on Japan to win a penalty for Ireland, Stapleton finds touch.


51 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan:On the lineout, Cronin fumbles and the ball is knocked on. Penalty Japan, and they kick towards touch rather than take the scrum, which they had done previously. They sweep the ball across the pitch, while Ireland deal with this attack much better.


53 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan: Great tackle by Ruth O’Reilly as Ireland look to turn the ball over. They’re putting much more pressure on Japan now, the penalty is awarded. They mess up a lineout, while Jamie Deacon is on for Fitzhenry.


54 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan: Great lineout by Japan and the pressure is on Ireland again. They lose control of the ball, but maintain possession. They’re 3m short.


56 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan: ‘Ireland, Ireland’ rings around the ground, as Naoupu puts in a strong, strong challenge. Great work by Egan too. Ireland are playing nice and patiently now, they win the penalty and Stapleton hits touch.


58 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan: Much, much better from Ireland. They’re playing much more directly. Brilliant tackle by Galvin — who earns her first cap — around the middle of the field to gain possession. Not the best of kicks from Stapleton for the lineout though.


60 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan: Inside the 22 thanks to great carries by Griffin and Fitzpatrick, Cronin tries to pop it back to Stapleton but it’s broken down. It seems to bounce off her leg.


62 mins – Ireland 7-14 Japan: Penalty for Ireland in a good position, the ball is now in touch and the hosts have a lineout in a favourable place. The pressure is on as Ireland charge towards the line.


64 mins – Ireland 12-14 Japan: TRY for Ireland, and it’s Fitzpatrick who finishes it. Game on!


64 mins – Ireland 14-14 Japan: Stapleton nails the conversion, and we’re level.


66 mins – Ireland 14-14 Japan: The substitutes have made such a huge impact. Ireland look strong on the restart, great kick by Stapleton. It’s getting louder!


69 mins – Ireland 14-14 Japan: A few errors here and there, and Japan are in possession again. They’re happy to keep the ball in hand, Ciara Cooney makes a great challenge though. Great work in the Ireland defensive line to win the penalty.


70 mins – Ireland 14-14 Japan: Spence races towards the 22 but she’s stopped. Ireland are driving at Japan, they’re under the pump. We’re 5m out, under the post.


73 mins – Ireland 17-14 Japan: IRELAND TAKE THE LEAD! Penalty straight in front of the posts, and Stapleton smashes it.


75 mins – Ireland 17-14 Japan: Japan look threatening again on the restart, but it’s dealt with accordingly. Stapleton finds touch with a brilliant kick. The resulting lineout looks crooked, and it’s Ireland’s now.


76 mins – Ireland 17-14 Japan: Another impressive kick from Stapleton, and the ball hits off the Japanese player. She’s unlucky not to catch it, but Ireland will be delighted with the lineout. Scrum Ireland after some physical exchanges.


77 mins – Ireland 17-14 Japan: Ireland drive forward, there’s a chance here. Nora Stapleton is announced as Player of the Match to cheers from the crowd. Ireland are inside the 22 now, Molloy drives towards the line.


78 mins – Ireland 17-14 Japan: Good work from Cronin and Lyons, as well as Egan. Can Ireland bag another try to cement the win?


80 mins – Ireland 22-14 Japan: TRY for Ireland! Fitzpatrick again to seal the victory. Amazing


80 mins – Ireland 24-14 Japan: Four out of four for Stapleton. It clips off the post but goes over. And that’s that. What a second half performance from Ireland!


Full time: Ireland 24-14 Japan

Having been 14-0 down at half-time, that wasn’t bad! Two wins from two. Ireland march on. The atmosphere is electric, the crowd are on their feet saluting their heroes.

Paula Fitzpatrick celebrates her try with teammates Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO


That’s all from me. You’ll find Ryan Bailey’s full-time report on The42 in the coming moments, while there’ll be plenty of reaction and analysis also. Thanks for tuning in, and enjoy your Sunday evening.


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