Close sidebar

Player Ratings As Ireland Fall To Heroic Japan In Huge World Cup Upset

Ireland Player Ratings

Sean McMahon reporting from Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa. 

Ireland have succumbed to one of the great World Cup shocks as they fell to a 19-12 defeat to Japan at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa tonight. 

Ireland dominated the opening 25 minutes where they got two tries through Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney but from then on in, Ireland were second-best in every facet of the game.

Japan were simply superb, four penalties kept them ticking over throughout the match as Ireland’s discipline was disappointingly poor. But it was Kenki Fukuoka’s try midway through the second half which finally cemented the thought that Japan could win this game.

Ireland Player Ratings

They continued to frustrate Ireland throughout the rest of the second half and Joe Schmidt’s side were shut down on every occasion by a heroic defensive performance from the hosts.

Ireland came out of this game with a losing bonus point but they almost left with nothing as a lung-busting Keith Earls chase denied Japan a certain try.


Rob Kearney – 5

Solid first half from Rob Kearney and he did brilliantly to collect the slap-down from Carty’s chip to score Ireland’s second try of the game.

His awareness was excellent in attack as he always offered himself as an option for a pass or offload as evidenced by his support line for Keith Earls after Carty’s cross-field kick.

Like all of the team, he was on defensive duties for pretty much all of the second half before he was removed with over 10 minutes to go which what turned out to be a HIA.

Keith Earls – 5

Showed superb pace to race upfield after Carty’s cross-field kick and passed well to Kearney in the same move. Wasn’t as busy as his other back-three colleagues but produced a solid shift in defence.

Incredible chase back at the death to save a certain try but like all of the back-three, they just didn’t show enough going forward.

Garry Ringrose – 6

Always looked a danger when he got the ball in his hands and he produced a lovely break for one of Ireland’s early attacks.

Was involved in the offloading move on the nearside in the first half which unfortunately didn’t come to anything but then he showed his aerial prowess to collect the cross-field kick and score Ireland’s first try.

Not much to be said after that.

Chris Farrell – 6

Solid first half from Chris Farrell as he was primarily used as a battering ram to suck in Japanese defenders. Got Ireland front foot ball and was quite busy in defence too.

But that’s all he was after 25 minutes, busy in defence as he offered little impact besides.

Jacob Stockdale – 4.5

It was clear that Ireland were keen to get Stockdale into as many 1on1 opportunities with Kotaro Matsushima as much as possible. Did well when the ball came his way but he probably didn’t make as much as an impact in an attacking sense in that opening 40 as you would have expected.

In defence, he chased backed well to touch down after a dangerous kick through from Japan early in the first half.

Did little besides that.

Jack Carty – 6

Aided by some poor Japanese positioning, Carty put on a kicking masterclass from hand as he probed, stretched and sometimes dumbfounded Japan’s defence throughout the opening quarter of his maiden World Cup start.

From then on, the game unravelled and he failed to control it.

Conor Murray – 5

Conceded a number of penalties when Ireland needed to establish control and composure. It wasn’t there.

Cian Healy – 5

Looked to have given away Ireland’s first penalty of the day along with Peter O’Mahony for infringing at the breakdown. Was part of a strong scrum which before the midway point of the first half was dominating until Japan gained the upper hand.

Busy in defence but offered little impact with ball in hand.

Rory Best (captain) – 5

Like Healy, was part of that dominant scrum for the opening 20 minutes until Japan began to edge it.

Knocked on the ball on after the superb break from Keith Earls and Rob Kearney but was solid with his darts and in defence.

Missed at the front of lineout early in the second half and as captain, he really should have instilled calm in his teammates.

Tadhg Furlong – 5

Like his front-row partners, was part of that dominant scrum for the opening 20 minutes until Japan began to edge it.

Was very busy in defence but going forward, he had little impact.

Iain Henderson – 6

Like many of Ireland’s forward pack, he was more obvious without the ball than with. Posted plenty of important tackles and was topping the charts in that regard throughout the second half.

James Ryan – 7

Another herculean performance from the 23-year-old. His work-rate throughout the match was absolutely vital for Ireland.

Shame the others around him didn’t follow suit.

Peter O’Mahony – 5.5

A very strong first half from O’Mahony, although it looked like he or Healy were penalised for the first penalty concession of the game. If he was guilty, he made up for it soon after when winning a superb breakdown penalty after seven minutes.

Competed really well in the lineout and put pressure on the Japanese throw time and time again.

Like his back-row and second-row colleagues, a massive shift in defence but his influence waned as the match wore on.

Josh van der Flier – 6.5

Produced a superb offload in some lovely Ireland play on the nearside in the first half.

Defensively he was brilliant as after another dangerous chip through from Japan almost resulted in a try.  Showed excellent pace to win the foot race to touch the ball down before a Japanese hand.

Unlucky to get caught on the wrong side a ruck to give away a penalty at the end of the first half but one of Ireland’s better performers on a disappointing night.

CJ Stander – 5

Gave away a penalty for Japan’s second attempt at the posts.

Wasn’t that effective in attack but hugely vital in defence.


Ireland were in desperate need of some energy with their replacements but besides from a bit of impact from the likes of Andrew Porter and Dave Kilcoyne, there was little on offer.

Disappointing. – 4

Read More About: , , ,

Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter