Japan have defeated Ireland 19-12 after a heroic performance in the Rugby World Cup.
Ireland went into the game as heavy favourites after a dominant display over Scotland last weekend that saw them come away with a bonus-point win.
However, despite two tries in the opening twenty minutes, Joe Schmidt’s side were second best for large parts of the game.
They led Japan 12-9 at the break but faltered in the second half as Japan controlled possession, territory and the tempo of the game.
Coming into the game Schmidt had named a strong side despite calls from certain quarters to rest people.
Barring the absence of Johnny Sexton, it was arguably Ireland’s strongest XV that took to the field this morning.
Following the defeat, former scrum-half Peter Stringer reiterated the point that it was the strongest possible side that Ireland could have put out.
“When you look at it. The team that Ireland put out, and we were kind of questioning it, questioning it in the media in terms of do you rest guys,” Stringer said on Eir Sports match coverage.
“You look at the pack they started. Their first starting choice. This was as good as Ireland could have put out.”
Stringer also speculated on the possibility that complacency may have crept in after last week’s impressive win over Scotland.
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) September 28, 2019
According to the former Munster man, Ireland came up so short in every aspect of the game.
“You look at Scotland and Japan, you always wanted to go strong. But whether on the back in the Scottish performance some people were getting carried away.
“But you look on the back of that performance how good Japan were. Ireland were justified in selecting their best side. They just came up so short at the end of the day. In every aspect of the game.”
Louise Galvin backed up Stringer’s point before claiming that Japan’s dominant performance warranted a bigger scoreline in the end.
“Any scores or bit of territory we got, they were on the back of Japan mistakes,” Galvin said.
“They left some points behind there as well. That scoreline didn’t even reflect their dominance on the game.”
— eir Sport (@eirSport) September 28, 2019