Fourteen points from the boot of fly-half Yu Tamura along with a try from Kenki Fukuoka were enough to get the host nation over the line despite early tries from Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney giving Ireland the lead in the first half.
Japan started brightly, looking the most likely to score and had to go in front after six minutes through a penalty but Tamura sliced the kick to the left.
That miss proved costly as Ireland grew into the game and went ahead on 14 minutes when after a number of phases Jack Carty sent a lovely chip to the right-hand side where Ringrose rose highest, collected the ball and touched down. Carty couldn’t add the extras but Ireland had their noses in front.
Japan hit back immediately as Tamura redeemed himself by slotting over a penalty from straight in front of the posts.
However, it was Ireland that stretched their lead five minutes later with Carty again instrumental. Following another group of phases and with advantage on their side Carty chipped over the top 10-metres out from the Japanese line and got up to slap the ball back to Kearney who barged over. Carty was perfect with his conversion this time and it was 12-3.
The hosts dominated the remainder of the half but could only manage to score from two penalties off the boot of Tamura as the sides went in at 12-9 to Ireland come the half-time whistle.
The second-half started the same way as the first ended as Japan continued at a blistering pace as the Irish looked to be tiring and it was the home side that took advantage just before the hour mark.
After sustained pressure Ireland had a chance to clear their lines but following a scrum CJ Stander ran into Chris Farrell and gave away a scrum.
From there the Japanese made no mistake as they attacked the Irish line and within a couple of phases they were over for a try in the right corner through substitute Fukuoka. Tamura provided the extras and suddenly they were leading 16-12.
Ireland tried to get back into the game, bringing on a number of substitutes to try and provide some energy to the side, but it was Japan who seemed to grow in confidence and belief going on to get the next score with another penalty by Tamura.
The hosts were battered in the final minutes but held on with a tight defence as Ireland just continued to tire and almost scored a breakaway try in the final moments, only for Keith Earls to make a vital tackle.
Ireland won a scrum in the final minute of the match, but with one last play to try and rescue a draw, they instead decided to kick the ball out and take a losing bonus-point as it finished 19-12 to Japan.
The win puts Japan top of Pool A and Ireland are in second, but Scotland will now feel they have a chance to qualify after looking down and out last weekend following a loss to Ireland.
Ireland will need to dust themselves down quickly as they face Russia in what is now a crucial game on Thursday, while Japan will look to make it three wins from three when they play Samoa next Saturday as they hope to finish top of the pool.
Ireland Player Ratings
Rob Kearney (7), Keith Earls (6), Gary Ringrose (7), Chris Farrell (6), Jacob Stockdale (5), Jack Carty (7), Connor Murray (6), CJ Stander (6), Josh van der Flier (6), Peter O’Mahony (5), James Ryan (6), Iain Henderson (6), Tadhg Furlong (6), Rory Best (6), Cian Healy (6)
Scene set for super-charged Rugby World Cup as new dates in 2022 confirmed
- Matches will take place between 8 October–12 November, 2022 in Auckland and Whangārei
- RWC 2021 tournament window increases from 35 to 43 days (including 5 days ahead of first match)
- Match schedule prioritises player welfare with five-day minimum rest days
- Revamped format with all fixtures to be played on weekends with triple-header matches scheduled per day
- New Rugby World Cup 2021 brandmark unveiled, including bespoke te reo Māori version for tournament promotion in New Zealand
Rugby World Cup 2021 will feature increased rest periods for all teams following World Rugby’s confirmation of the revised tournament dates which will now see New Zealand host the tournament between 8 October-12 November, 2022.
With the ambition of super-charging the schedule for players, fans and the host nation, the tournament window, including preparation ahead of the first match, will be extended from 35 to 43 days resulting in all teams having a minimum of five rest days between matches. This aligns with the approach recently approved for the men’s competition.
The extension of the tournament window, also allows for a revamped tournament format that will see all matches take place on Saturdays and Sundays, with no overlap, meaning fans will not miss a moment of the first women’s edition of a Rugby World Cup to be hosted in the southern hemisphere.
With the tournament starting later in the year, players and fans will benefit from warmer weather and longer daylight hours. The pool phase will be played on the weekends of 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 October, 2022 at Eden Park, Northlands Events Centre in Whangārei and Waitakere Stadium.
The quarter-finals will take place on 29-30 October followed by semi-finals on Saturday, 5 November. The bronze final and RWC 2021 final will be played on Saturday, 12 November, with Eden Park set to create history by becoming the first stadium to host both the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup finals.
A detailed match schedule and broadcast timings will be announced at a later date.
In addition to the revised tournament dates, World Rugby has also unveiled new tournament brandmarks retaining reference to 2021, the year the tournament was originally intended to take place, while conveying to fans and audiences that the tournament will now be played in 2022. A bespoke te reo Māori version of the new brandmark has also been designed for tournament promotion in New Zealand. This reflects the importance of te reo as an official language of Aotearoa, New Zealand and to signify the desire to celebrate the unique Māori culture for all those connected with the tournament.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We are fully committed to accelerating the women’s game at all levels and while the postponement was disappointing for everyone, it has provided the unique opportunity to review every aspect of the event to ensure it is the best it can be for the players, fans around the world and the wonderful and enthusiastic New Zealanders.
“Longer rest periods between matches for all teams is further commitment to delivering comprehensive player welfare standards at RWC 2021.
“I would like to thank all stakeholders for their support and open-minded approach to this process and we can now look forward to a truly spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022.”
International Rugby Players appointee to the RWC Board, Melodie Robinson, said: “While it’s disappointing that the 2021 tournament had to be postponed, the positive is that we’ve been able to ensure the 2022 event and subsequent Rugby World Cups will have a minimum five-day turnaround for players.
“Just like the men’s tournament, this will hopefully help to level the playing field for all sides and see an increase in competitive matches.”
Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director Michelle Hooper said: “We are delighted that together with World Rugby we have been able to further super-charge the women’s game here in New Zealand with the confirmation of the new dates in 2022 and the amendments to the tournament format. We are excited to be hosting Rugby World Cup here in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
“The momentum for women’s sport is continuously building and we look forward to demonstrating this to the world through the unstoppable energy that will be on display during Rugby World Cup in 2022. We can’t wait to welcome the world’s best women’s rugby players to our shores and share the Manaakitanga so intrinsically linked to our people and our place and rugby in Aotearoa, New Zealand with them and their fans.”
In a commitment to delivering an outstanding Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022, earlier this year World Rugby announced a £2 million funding package to support a Rugby World Cup 2021 high performance preparation and competition programme for qualified teams and teams still competing in the qualification process.
The programme will focus on providing teams with additional monetary support to deliver additional team training camps and coordinating international competition to give them the greatest opportunity to be at their best in New Zealand next year. Further details will be announced at a later stage.
Australia to launch its bid to host Rugby World Cup 2027
The announcement will be made at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on Thursday, with Rugby Australia and the Bid Advisory Board unveils the ‘Game On’ campaign.
RA Chairman Hamish McLennan believes that the opportunity for Australia to host its second men’s World Cup is significant for the country and the Pacific region.
“This is an exciting day for all Australians as we formally put our hand up to host the third-largest sporting event in the world,” he said in a statement.
“Hosting Rugby World Cup 2027 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia, which would drive substantial economic outcomes for our country, while also providing a lasting legacy for Rugby in this region.
“It would also allow us to support the Australian Government’s ambitions around major events in what is shaping up to be a green and gold decade for the nation – from the FIBA Women’s World Cup in 2022, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2022, FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2025, Netball World Cup in 2027, and the exciting potential of an Olympic Games in Queensland in 2032.
“It is also a significant opportunity for Rugby in Australia and the Pacific, with the event to provide an unrivalled opportunity to grow the game by attracting further investment, participants, officials and volunteers.
“Australia is a sports-loving nation with a vast network of world-class modern stadia. We have a proud Rugby heritage in this country and are also home to ex-pats from across the globe who love to get out and support their teams when they tour.”
World Rugby will announce the successful host candidate in May 2022, with Australia entering the dialogue phase of the host selection process.
2027 Bid Advisory Board Chairman, Sir Rod Eddington, believes the event would be vital to the growth of the country if successful
“Hosting Rugby World Cup 2027 would be a significant moment for Australia on the world stage,” he added.
“This event is a beacon to the business community and tourists around the world. We cannot underestimate the significance hosting this tournament would have for Australia’s economy.
“The 2027 event is projected to attract more than two million attendees across seven weeks of competition, including 200,000 international visitors, and generate $2.5 billion in direct and indirect expenditure to the economy, while also creating 13,300 FTE jobs and stimulating $500 million in new trade and investment.
“This is a moment for all Australia to celebrate as we put our best foot forward and say to the world, it is time for Rugby’s showpiece event to return to Australian shores in 2027.”
With the nation set to host a plethora of international competitions over the next five years, Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck shared the sentiment that securing the World Cup would once again show off Australia’s sporting credentials.
“Australia already has a strong record as an international host. We understand what it takes to stage the kind of major events that are watched by millions of sport fans across the world,” Colbeck added.
“Rugby World Cup 2027 would again showcase Australia’s credentials as a sporting host.
“It will also serve as a point of pride for Australian spectators who will be cheering from the sidelines.”
Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.
World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video
While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.
The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.
The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions.
World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.
Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.
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