Rugby

The International Media Reaction To Japan Stunning Ireland

The International Media Reaction To Japan Stunning Ireland

The World Cup hopes lit by Ireland's easy win against Scotland a week ago were quenched by Japan on Saturday afternoon.

After an excellent start by Joe Schmidt's side, one which saw them score two tries and lead 12-3 after 22 minutes, the game was dominated by the tournament's host nation as they won 19-12. By the final whistle, Ireland were glad to be leaving with a losing bonus point.

"This result served a reminder than no one can be taken for granted and emphasised why this is the most open World Cup we have witnessed," writes Liam Napier for the New Zealand Herald.

"Chasing the game is not one of Ireland's strengths. Already without influential injured playmaker Johnny Sexton, who watched on from the stands, as injuries decimated Ireland's backline late in the second spell they were made to look ponderous.

"Schmidt's ashen-face expression post match said everything about a performance that must rank among the worst of his era. The shock result now leaves Ireland in a scrap to make it out of their pool, and potentially on course for a quarter-final showdown with the All Blacks.

"World Cups by nature are unpredictable and it's worth remembering France made the final in 2011 despite losing to Tonga and the All Blacks in pool play.

"Such history, though, will be of little consolation to Schmidt.

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In Sunday Times Stephen Jones tells us we'll never see the likes of Saturday again.

Message to England rugby. This is what is supposed to happen when you host the Rugby World Cup. And when you want the sporting earth to move. Breathtaking.

And if you are thinking of retiring from watching rugby, to devote yourself to God or something pagan, or something easier to understand than confusing old rugby, then now is the time. You've seen it all; you'll never see anything like this again. But you'll miss all your mates, all the good old boys and good girls in the sport's orbit - like Rory Best, dragged into one of those appalling, crass post-match flash interviews and who had the breath and the grace to congratulate Japan. And anyway, you'll always want to keep the memories of Shizuoka alive, forever.

The Guardian's Robert Kitson believes Ireland got their timing wrong.

"Ireland have had plenty of World Cup disappointments but nothing like this. It remains possible they will still top the pool but any semblance of green impregnability has evaporated into the humid Japanese air. There remains a nagging sense Joe Schmidt’s side peaked a year ago and here was further evidence to support the prosecution’s case."

For The Scotsman, Iain Morrison says there should be a familiarity with how Japan beat Ireland.

Japan “Leinstered” Ireland yesterday, which was another nice little irony. The host side held on to the ball for long periods. They were content to go backwards, if needs be, to hold on to possession. When they did see a half gap their ball carriers ran with a conviction and footwork that Scotland never came close to matching.

Japan made most of their forward yards, and scored their only try, in the wide channels but, unlike Scotland, they mixed things up sufficiently to ensure that Ireland were left guessing the point and angle of the next attack. Line speed was lost.

Most importantly, Japan had patience, Zen-like patience, oodles of it, a surfeit of the stuff – almost as if they had stocked up on Scotland’s unused consignment.

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Stuff.co.nz's Richard Knowler has a reminder for the All Blacks.

"Although Ireland were ordinary against an energetic and passionate Japanese side at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, the recent record against the All Blacks under New Zealand coach Joe Schmidt cannot be ignored.

"To do so would be madness.

"Ireland have won two of their last three tests against the All Blacks; it proves they've got a good grasp on how to take the fear factor out of playing the world champions."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

See Also: IRFU Confirm Jordi Murphy Replaces Jack Conan In Ireland Squad

PJ Browne
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