Ireland vs Japan
The Irish team will play in front of a crowd at the Aviva Stadium for the first time since the pandemic started. They will no doubt have revenge on their minds after being knocked out of the WC by Japan. Japan will not have the backing of a full stadium this time but I still expect them to test this Ireland team. The home team will be missing many regulars due to the Lions call ups and will also be without talisman flyhalf Johnny Sexton. Japan showed last week against the Lions that they won’t just lie down for any team. Ireland will be captained by the excellent James Ryan who many considered was very unlucky not to selected for the Lions. Ireland still has a strong team and their backline still looks potent with players like Hugo Keenan and Jordan Larmour. It will be interesting to see how the new Ireland halfback pairing of Joey Carbery and Jamison Gibson Park fares against the more experienced Japanese halfback pair. Ireland usually famed for having a very strong pack of forwards will be tested by the Japanese team looking to take advantage of the home team missing key players. Japan love to keep ball in hand and they showed their attacking skills against the Lions, so the Irish defence will need to be in top form. The undoubted star in the Japan team is Kotaro Matsushima and he was sensational against the Lions. He made over a 100 metres and beat defenders at will. Ireland’s winger Jacob Stockdale will need to improve his defence otherwise Matsushima will run rings around him.
TIP: The match should be entertaining as both teams strength lies in their backline and it remains to see which flyhalf can spark their attacks. For Ireland flyhalf Joey Carbery this is a big opportunity to stake his claim for the number 10 jersey as he has been in the shadow of Johnny Sexton his whole career. The same can be said of Jamison Gibson Park who only gets a chance because Connor Murray is away with the Lions. Japan have two wingers that are big and strong especially Siosaia Fifita who troubled the Lions with his power and speed. The other wing Semisi Masirewa is on debut but we have seen him destroy defences in Super Rugby. The bookies have Ireland as favourites and I also tip them to win a very close encounter. The best odds on the Ireland win are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.25, Playabets 1.17 and Sunbet 1.23
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Ireland vs Japan
- There have been five matches between these sides with just victory for Japan and four for Ireland.
- Japan won the last meeting against Ireland 19-12.
- Japan has never won on Irish soil.
Latest results for both teams
Ireland beat England 32-18 in their last match while Japan lost to the British& Irish Lions 28-10.
The Japanese team play to their strengths and that means throwing the ball around and they have made changes that will further enhance this style of play. The addition of Kazuki Himeno will make a world of difference as Japan were scoreless until he came on against the Lions. He is a beast of a player always breaking the first tackle and looking for the offload. Matsushima has been moved to full back and I feel that he is more dangerous in this position as he will have more space to run in. The biggest improvement in Japans game has been the scrum and so often it was their Achilles heel. This is one of the more inexperienced sides that Ireland have selected and I think they will be pushed all the way by the Japanese team. I predict a very narrow victory for Ireland by 3 points
- Probable Starting XVs
15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Jamison Gibson Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan (captain), 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Ronan Kelleher, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Siosaia Fifita, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Naoto Saito, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Labuschagné, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 James Moore, 4 Wimpie van der Walt, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Atsushi Sakate, １ Keita Inagaki.
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Ireland victory are as follows:
Odds comparison on the Japan handicap:
The complete odds on the Japan handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (+10.5) 1.90
Sunbet (+10.5) 1.89
Playabets (+10.5) 1.88
Predictions and Odds in details
The Irish team will be buoyed by the home crowd albeit a restricted number of 3000 but will be great to hear the fans. Ireland will look to experienced players like James Ryan and Jacob Stockdale to guide this team against the more settled and experienced Japan team. This match could very well come down to the last quarter where I think that Ireland do have the slightly better bench. The kicking game of Ireland will need to be very accurate as the Japanese have a pacy back three that will counter attack at every opportunity. The battle between the two number 8s Himeno and Caelan Doris will be one of the highlights for me. Both are strong runners of the base of the scrum and they provide a platform for their teams to attack. There isn’t great returns on the Irish win therefore I suggest Japan on the handicap. The best odds on the Japanese handicap are as follows: Worldsportsbetting (+10.5) 1.90, Sunbet (+10.5) 1.89 and Playabets (+10.5) 1.88
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.