Keith Earls on fire again as Ireland run 7 past Japan

Joe Schmidt’s side hit the 50-point mark for the second week running thanks to big displays from Earls and Jack Conan.

Japan 22

Ireland 50

John Fallon reports from Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka

KEITH EARLS AGAIN led the way as a relatively inexperienced Irish side romped to their second big win of the summer tour.

Japan, one of Ireland’s 2019 World Cup opponents, were easily brushed aside in warm conditions. Earls, who scored twice in the 55-19 win over the USA, continued his blistering form on this tour to settle Ireland with the opening try after 12 minutes when he was put clear down the left by Jack Conan after Ireland turned over a Japanese scrum.

Kotaro Matshima and Keith Earls Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Paddy Jackson, who was assured from the outset, landed the left wing conversion to make it 10-0, having got them off the mark with a penalty after seven minutes.

The sin-binning of Japan tighthead Heiichiro Ito for killing the ball after another break by Earls afrer 24 minutes allowed the floodgates to open, with Quinn Roux and Devin Toner shaping the line-out to send Dan Leavy over for his first international try.

He got his second four minutes later — after another Earls’ break — and then Conan took the final pass from the Limerick man to cross for Ireland’s fourth try.

Kotaro Matshima and Jack Conan Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Jackson’s touchline conversion meant that Ireland had 21 points posted while Japan were down a man for 10 minutes and left Ireland leading by 31-3 at the break.

Conan got his second try of the game six minutes after the restart before Japan responded with their best spell and were rewarded with a try from full-back Ryuji Noguchi, much to the delight of the crowd of around 30,000.

Rory O’Loughlin and Kieran Treadwell came on for their Irish debuts — making it seven new caps on this tour so far — before Garry Ringrose was sent over by Tiernan O’Halloran for Ireland’s sixth try 14 minutes from the end.

Earls got his second try to take Ireland to the half century mark for the second week in a row, with Japan finishing on a high with late tries from winger Kenki Fukuoka and replacement scrum-half Yutaka Nagare, at a time when Ireland were down to 14 when Luke McGrath had to go off with the bench emptied.

Scorers for Japan:

Tries: Ryuji Noguchi, Kenki Fukuoka , Yutaka Nagare

Cons: Rikiya Matsuda (2 from 2)

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Scorers for Ireland:

Tries: Dan Leavy (2), Jack Conan (2), Keith Earls (2), Garry Ringrose

Cons: Paddy Jackson (5 from 5), Rory Scannell (1 from 2)

Pens: Jackson (1 from 1)

Japan: Ryuji Noguchi; Kotaro Matsushima, William Tupou, Derek Carpenter (Ryohei Yamanaka ’67), Kenki Fukuoka; Yu Tamura (Shuhei Matsuhashi ’59), Fumiaki Tanaka (Yutake Nagare ’55); Keita Inagaki (Shintaro Ishihara ’41), Shota Horie (Yusuke Niwai ’55), Heiichiro Ito (Takuma Asahara ’59); Kotaro Yatabe, Uwe Helu (Shuhei Matsuhashi ’55); Michael Leitch, Yoshitaka Tokanuga, Amanaki Mafi (Hendrik Tui ’41).

Ireland: Simon Zebo (Tiernan O’Hallorn ’41); Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose (Kieran Marmion ’68), Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Paddy Jackson (Rory O’Loughlin ’61), Luke McGrath; Cian Healy (Dave Kilcoyne ’58), Niall Scannell (James Tracy ’55), John Ryan (Finlay Bealham ’61, Ryan ‘78); Quinn Roux, Devin Toner (Kieran Treadwell ’61); Rhys Ruddock (Jack O’Donoghue ’64-71 HIA)), Dan Leavy (O’Donoghue ’54- 59) blood), Jack Conan (O’Donoghue ’76).

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John Fallon

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