Ireland scored five tries to beat Japan 35-13 in Tokyo on Saturday.
Japan produced an improved performance following last week’s 50-22 defeat, but Ireland again had too much firepower for the hosts.
It didn’t take Ireland long to get on the scoreboard as tries by Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier pushed them out to a 14-0 lead after 10 minutes. Japan responded with a penalty by flyhalf Jumpei Ogura.
Ireland continued their relentless onslaught and were rewarded with two more tries – scored by scrumhalf Kieran Marmion and Rhys Ruddock – to take a 28-3 lead into the break.
The second half was closely contested, with Japan giving a more polished defensive display. Akihito Yamada and Kotaro Matsushima scored in quick succession for the hosts, but unfortunately their tries were unconverted. Japan continued to probe, but they failed to add to their tally.
Ireland’s attack was subdued for the best part of the second half as they were starved of territory and possession, but with two minutes remaining, replacement Sean Reidy crossed for the fifth try to seal a hard-fought victory for the visitors.
Japan – Akihito Yamada, Kotaro Matsushima. Penalty: Jumpei Ogura.
Ireland – Tries: Garry Ringrose, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Rhys Ruddock, Sean Reidy. Conversions: Paddy Jackson (5).
Japan – 15 Ryuji Noguchi, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Kotaro Matsushima, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Jumpei Ogura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Michael Leitch (c), 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Shintaro Ishihara.
Subs: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Takayuki Watanabe, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Ryohei Yamanaka.
Ireland – 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock (c), 5 Devin Toner, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 John Ryan, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy.
Subs: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 James Ryan, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Tiernan O’Halloran.
Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images