Full, unflinching player ratings as Ireland shell-shocked by Japan
Japan 19-12 Ireland
Ireland went from 12-3 ahead after 21 minutes to hoofing the ball out of play after the hooter so they did not lose their try-scoring bonus point.
Jamie Joseph's Japan blew Ireland away in the last hour of a frantic game and deservedly beat the former World No.1 side. The Ireland ratings make for a sobering read.
Ireland went into a 5-0 lead when Jack Carty, playing the advantage, found Garry Ringrose with a cross-field kick and the Leinster man dotted down. Yu Tamura claimed three points back but Carty's smart kicking out of hand teed up another try, this time for Rob Kearney.
Ireland began to wilt from that high, however, and their 12-3 lead was cut to 12-9 by the break.
Ireland went into this game with 24 straight victories in games they led in at half-time. The home fans were starting to believe, though, and Ireland were making sloppy errors to put themselves in holes.
One mistake, an accidental offside, coughed up a scrum to Japan and, after several phases of intense attacking pressure and great handling, Kenki Fukuoka scored in the corner. The conversion sailed over and Ireland were 16-12 down.
Joe Schmidt emptied his bench but they could not hold onto possession long enough to put Japan under any real pressure. Instead, with eight minutes to go and Ireland conceding a raft of penalties, Tamura put his side 19-12 ahead. Ireland were out of gas and they had no answers before Japan celebrated wildly at the end.
Here's how we rated Schmidt's men in green:
Rob Kearney - 6
Waited 47 months for a Test try (after the 2015 World Cup) and has now scored in successive games. Coolness in defence and made a couple of meaningful carries. Excellent kick into the corner forced Matsushima to carry out near his own tryline. Showed great hands to juggle and carry at full-pelt up to the Japanese 22.
Keith Earls - 6
Early involvement down the right. Gave up possession with one squirty offload and it put his side in trouble. Matsushima evaded him far too easily when he chased a grubber through. Unreal chase back to save a late intercept try.
Garry Ringrose - 7.5
Was a man possessed in the first 30 minutes. 47 metres made off five carries that led to four line breaks and ravaged the Japan defence. Was the best attacking bet in the Irish backline but influence, like so many, diminished as the game raged on. Missed four tackles.
Chris Farrell - 8
Was excellent in defence and mixed the straight-up brutality of hard carries with some lovely, soft hands in attack. Ran into Stander to give Japan a penalty for accidental offside. Made 15 tackles and nine carries and cannot be faulted.
Jacob Stockdale - 5
Burned his man on the outside in the first 10 minutes but opted to step inside when Jack Carty floated a lovely pass out wide to him. Not a good game for him in the air. Kept going until the end.
Jack Carty - 6
Would love to bottle his opening 25 minutes so he could un-cork at will. His kicking out of hand caused chaos for Japan and delivered Ireland's first two tries. Was bashed back on a couple of carries and, one excellent kick in behind Japan in the second half, faded before he was replaced.
Conor Murray - 6
Great tackle on Mafi to force a knock-on and, eventually, force the Japanese No.8 out of the game. Japanese line speed had him under the pump throughout. Forced to play the entire 80 as bodies dropped all around him. Missed three tackles.
Cian Healy - 5
The Irish scrum won an early penalty but it got tougher after than. Made four carries for not much change but stuck his tackles in defence.
Rory Best - 4
Over- and under-threw two crucial lineouts to heap pressure on his side. Stuck nine tackles but got nowhere with his few carries.
Tadhg Furlong - 5
Made an unfortunate knock-on to scupper a promising Irish attack up the left. Was penalised for 'shearing' at one scrum but got through a lot of work in the loose.
Iain Henderson - 6
Made a nice line break into the Japanese 22 during Ireland's period of early dominance.
James Ryan - 7
Showed real athleticism to claim one restart on the horizontal (below) and was the stand-out forward in the first half. With Ireland trailing, and 20 minutes to go, he found himself isolated near the tryline and was turned over. Looked out on his feet in the final stages.
Peter O'Mahony - 5
Conceded early penalty at the ruck but won his team a turnover penalty soon after. Landed a number of meaty tackles and was excellent on both the Irish and Japanese lineouts.
Josh van der Flier - 6
Made a great dash back to prevent a try and showed presence of mind to release then reclaim the ball on the deck. Was unlucky to be penalised at one ruck when the Japanese pinned him in. Stuck 15 tackles but was often blown away at the breakdown.
CJ Stander - 5
Was nowhere near as influential as in the opener. Held onto ball too long off late scrum and it led to accidental offside. Worked his rump off and came to the fore with strong carries in the final 15 minutes but was out-gunned.
Dave Kilcoyne (for Healy '45) - 7
Exploded off the bench with two big hits in defence.
Andrew Porter (for Furlong '45) - 6
Thundered one player back five yards on the 52nd minute.
Rhys Ruddock (for O'Mahony '55) - 5
Joey Carbery (for Carty '60) - 6
Brought more tempo when he came on.
Sean Cronin (for Best '60) - 5
Jordan Larmour (for Farrell '61) - 5
Tadhg Beirne (for Henderson '66) - 6
Steal from a maul immediately after coming on.
Luke McGrath (for Kearney '68) - 5
Had to play on the left wing.
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