In what was his second start for Ireland, former Buccaneers and current Connacht out half, Jack Carty, akin to his international teammates, experienced the Brave Blossoms second half brunt as they succumbed to the host nation challenge on Saturday morning.
Holding a slender half time lead (12-9 ), Ireland failed to positively effect the scoreboard in the second period and with incessant pressure being applied by Japan over the forty minute period, the hosts secured a deserved victory, the result of which (coupled with Scotland’s bonus point win over Samoa ), leaves Ireland’s knockout phase aspirations very much in the balance.
Two bonus point victories over Russia and Samoa should seal a quarter final berth with New Zealand likely to provide the opposition at this stage of the competition.
Making his full World Cup bow in a humidity laden Fukuroi City, Carty was in imperious first half assist form as his on field contributions directly lead to Ireland’s two tries with Gary Ringrose and Rob Kearney touching down.
However, Ireland failed to score after the 21st minute of the contest, a Carty conversion being their final contribution to the scoreboard in what was an absorbing contest.
Failing to effect the contest as a cohesive unit in the second half, the running game and fitness levels of the Japanese proved detrimental to Ireland’s toil with Carty being replaced just after the hour mark by replacement out half Joey Carberry.
As the importance of the Russia game comes into focus (taking place this morning ), the former Roscommon minor footballer will return to bench duties as Johnny Sexton returns to the playing fray. Hopefully, Ireland will be in a commanding second half scoring position to allow Carty further game time and World Cup atmosphere experience prior to the final Pool A encounter with Samoa, one which will determine Ireland’s status in the prestigious competition.