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Ireland Under-19s Enjoy Eight-Try Victory Over Japan
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Ireland Under-19s Enjoy Eight-Try Victory Over Japan

Ireland Under-19s Enjoy Eight-Try Victory Over Japan

The Ireland Under-19s, sponsored by PwC, helped themselves to eight tries at Donnybrook as they overcame a spirited challenge from Japan High Schools in a high-scoring encounter.

This was the fourth game for Japan during their tour of Ireland, which started with a 17-7 loss to the Munster Under-19s at Thomond Park on March 15. However, they subsequently defeated Connacht U-19s (24-10) and Ulster U-19s (20-5) in Galway and Belfast respectively.

The Japanese U-19 selection had a chance to open the scoring against Ireland but their full-back Kyohei Yamasawa was off target with a long range fifth-minute penalty and the Kieran Campbell-coached hosts soon took the lead.

A fast-paced move by Ireland forced the Japanese on the back foot, and quick offloads by James Hume and Conor Wharton put St. Andrew's winger Peter Sullivan over for a try on the left. Fresh from his Leinster Schools Senior Cup success with Belvedere College, Hugh O'Sullivan was wide of the mark with the conversion.

Ireland built patiently inside the Japan 22 for their second try in the 11th minute, a slick pass by Garryowen's David McCarthy provided the platform for Sullivan to race over for his second score of the day. Out-half O'Sullivan converted for 12-0 and although there was still a lot of rugby left to play, the home side were looking extremely sharp on the 4G surface.

The Japanese also showed signs of genuine quality in possession, and they worked their way back into contention after the opening quarter had elapsed. They spread the ball wide and Yamasawa was in the right place to break over the whitewash under pressure from the retreating Irish defence.

He converted his own five-pointer before Ireland responded with another superb team try from the restart. Flanker Aaron Hall was on hand to apply the finishing touches to an enterprising attack, and a confident O'Sullivan once again converted.

In front of an enthusiastic crowd, the Ireland U-19s were playing an expansive style that perfectly suited the sunny conditions, and RBAI's Hume drove over from a central position for Ireland's fourth try of the contest. After the dependable Yamasawa clipped over a penalty, Ireland took a commanding 26-10 lead into the interval.

Campbell's charges were eager to maintain their momentum, and the excellent Sullivan claimed his hat-trick at the end of a lung-bursting sprint which saw Ireland start the second period with a bang.

Nonetheless, Japan were determined to make the most of their final tour match and they responded with their second try, loosehead prop Gaku Shimizu using all of his physical power to ground the ball under the posts, and Yamasawa's second successful conversion followed.

Ireland were generally able to prevent Japan from developing any consistent pattern of play, though, and Hume completed another quick-witted move for his second try on 49 minutes. By this point, Ireland had already opted to give game-time to their replacements, and Belvedere's Senior Cup-winning skipper Max Kearney joined his school team-mate O'Sullivan on the field.

Hiroto Mamada and Fifita Siosaia combined to set up Japanese replacement Tomoya Kimura for a try on the right flank. This converted effort brought the gap back down to a manageable 14 points, but Ireland were hell bent on finishing the game in a positive frame of mind.

Winger Mark Keane dotted down after racing onto a kick through on the hour mark, and this was supplemented by a seventh try after 68 minutes by Marist College's Corey Reid, who was assisted by replacement scrum half James Kenny.

Japan brought the scoring to an end when winger Yoshiyuki Koga cut across from his own wing to score in the right corner, but even though Yamasawa superbly split the posts with his final kick of the day, Ireland had 19 points to spare at the final whistle.

Referee: Calum Howard (England)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Conor Wharton (Leeds Beckett University); Mark Keane (Instonians), James Hume (RBAI), David McCarthy (Garryowen), Peter Sullivan (St. Andrew's College); Michael Lowry (RBAI), Hugh O'Sullivan (Belvedere College); James French (Bandon Grammar School), Diarmuid Barron (Garryowen), Tom O'Toole (Campbell College), Matt Dalton (Belfast Royal Academy), Jack Dunne (St. Michael's College), Jack Cooke (London Irish), Aaron Hall (Ballynahinch), Sean Masterson (Corinthians).

Replacements used: John McCusker (Rainey Old Boys) for Dunne, Max Kearney (Belvedere College) for Hall (both 41 mins), Alexander Clarke (Ballymena Academy) for Barron (49), Jordan Duggan (Naas) for French, Bryan O'Connor (Presentation Brothers Cork) for O'Toole, Angus Curtis (Queen's University) for Lowry (all 51), James Kenny (Gonzaga College) for O'Sullivan, Corey Reid (Marist College) for Hume (both 60).

Away Team

Kyohei Yamasawa (Fukaya HS); Yu Saruta (Akita Tecnnical HS), Fifita Siosaia (Nohon Kouku HS Ishikawa), Yuto Mori (Higashi Fukuoka HS), Yoshiyuki Koga (Higashi Fukuoka HS); Hiroto Mamada (Tokyo Noudai Second Senior HS), Azuma Doei (Kosen HS); Gaku Shimizu (Osaka Toin HS), Yuichiro Takiguchi (Tokaidai Gyosei HS), Suguru Kubo (Chikushi HS), Katsuto Kubo (Kokugakuin Tochigi HS), Ryuga Hashimoto (Higashi Fukuoka HS), Kodai Takahashi (Toin Gakuen HS), Junya Yoshinaga (Higashi Fukuoka HS), Syota Fukui (Higashi Fukuoka HS).

Replacements used: Ikuma Yamada (Tokaidai Gyosei HS) for Yoshinaga (44 mins), Tomoya Kimura (Fushimi Tech HS) for Saruta (49), Ibuki Kondo (Niigata Tech HS) for Taniguchi, Yuto Yabuki (Fukaya HS) for Shimizu, Kochi Endo (Kokugakuin Tochigi HS) for S Kubo (all 51), Kento Matsumoto (Osaka Toin HS) for Mori (64), Syun Arai (Fukaya HS) for Doei (68).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Peter Sullivan 3, James Hume 2, Aaron Hall, Mark Keane, Corey Reid; Cons: Hugh O'Sullivan 4, Angus Curtis

Away Team

Tries: Kyohei Yamasawa, Gaku Shimizu, Tomoya Kimura, Yoshiyuki Koga; Cons: Kyohei Yamasawa 4; Pen: Kyohei Yamasawa