RECAP: Japan v Ireland
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to the World Cup pool match between Japan and Ireland in Shizuoka.
Ireland goes into this weekend’s clash with hosts Japan without talismanic playmaker Johnny Sexton.
However, they will still expect to overpower the Brave Blossoms and preserve their winning record.
Joe Schmidt’s side, who came into the tournament as the world’s top-ranked team, crushed Scotland 27-3 with a clinical performance in their Pool A opener last weekend.
Prediction: Japan will be willing and may even keep it close for a while, perhaps up till half-time. However, Ireland should race clear in the second half and win by at least 20 points.
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Japan: 15 Ryohei Yamanaka, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 William Tupou, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare 8 Amanaki Lelei Mafi, 7 Pieter Labuschagne (captain), 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Koo Ji-won, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Isileli Nakajima, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Michael Leitch, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Lomano Lava Lemeki.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Chris Farrell, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Josh Van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Tadgh Beirne, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Matthew Carley (England)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)