Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Bryan Keane/INPHO Ireland's Claire Molloy in action.
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Ireland mount late comeback to beat World Cup opponents Japan at UCD
It was a valuable exercise for Tom Tierney’s side at the start of a six-day training camp.

TWO MONTHS OUT from their Women’s Rugby World Cup clash, Ireland and Japan played out a high-scoring trial game at the UCD Bowl yesterday as preparations for the tournament continued.

Late tries from Hannah Tyrrell and Claire Molloy sealed a 24-22 victory for Ireland in the uncapped fixture and it was invaluable exercise for Tom Tierney’s side at the start of a six-day training camp.

With 10 minutes remaining, Ireland trailed by a point but late scores from Tyrrell and Molloy ensured they came out the right side of the result as Tierney experimented with different combinations.

Molloy set Ireland on their way in the fourth minute as she added the finishing touches to a powerful maul and the hosts extended their advantage through Paula Fitzpatrick at the start of the second quarter.

Japan, however, stayed in touch before the break as Saki Minami touched down and the visitors moved within two points right on the stroke of half time as Honoka Tsutsumi finished off a sweeping move.

Sene Naoupu is tackled by Iroha Nagata and Ayaka Suzuki Bryan Keane / INPHO Sene Naoupu is tackled. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

With the complexion of the game changing and the balance of power now shifted in Japan’s favour, it was they who came out of the blocks firing at the start of the second half and it wasn’t long before they hit the front through Noriko Taniguchi.

Tierney shuffled his pack and used the outing as an opportunity to cast his eye over his squad players, but it opened the door for Japan who scored another fine score in the 56th minute when Mayu Shimizu powered over.

That score sparked Ireland back into life and they mounted a late comeback through Tyrrell and then Molloy to snatch a one-point victory.

The sides meet at the same venue on Wednesday.

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Ireland: Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster), Megan Williams (St. Mary’s), Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls), Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster), Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht), Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster) (capt), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht).

Replacements used: Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster), Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Ilse van Staden (Cooke/Ulster), Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster), Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster), Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Leinster), Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster), Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht).

Noriko Taniguchi celebrates a try with her team mates Bryan Keane / INPHO Japan celebrate one of their tries. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Japan: Mayu Shimizu (Nippon Sport Science Univ); Noriko Taniguchi (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Makiko Tomita (Setagaya Ladies), Iroha Nagata (Rissho Univ), Honoka Tsutsumi (Nippon Sport Science Univ); Minori Yamamoto (Nippon Sport Science Univ), Moe Tsukui (The Second Hs, Tokyo University Of Agriculture); Saki Minami (Nippon Sport Science Univ), Seina Saito (Pearls), Makoto Ebuchi (Aoyama Gakuin Univ/Tokyo Phoenix Rc), Aoi Mimura (Yokohama Tkm), Ayano Sakurai (Nippon Sport Science Univ), Yui Shiozaki (Tokyo Phoenix Rc), Ayaka Suzuki (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave (Arukas Queen Kumagaya/Saitama Driving School).

Replacements used: Misaki Suzuki (Tokyo Phoenix Rc), Chihiro Kobayashi (Rku Rugby Ryugasaki Grace), Mizuho Kataoka (Yokohama Tkm), Maiko Fujimoto (Yokohama Tkm), Aya Nakajima (Arukas Queen Kumagaya), Yuki Oyokawa (Nippon Sport Science Univ), Sayaka Suzuki (Rku Rugby Ryugasaki Grace), Yumeno Noda (Rissho Univ), Chikami Inoue (Rku Rugby Ryugasaki Grace), Mizuho Ito (Yokohama Tkm), Keiko Kato (Setagaya Ladies), Akari Kato (Ka-Ra-Da Factory Rugirl-7).

Referee: Joy Neville (IRFU).

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