Monday 21 August 2017

Tupou's three-game ban

Japan coach Jamie Joseph. Photo: Getty Images
Japan coach Jamie Joseph. Photo: Getty Images

Japan's chances of squaring the series with Ireland in Tokyo on Saturday took another blow with the loss of centre Will Tupou, who has been banned for three games.

Tupou was cited independently after the hammering in Ecopa Stadium for a tip tackle, late in the game, on Devin Toner - an ironic development given the size of the Ireland second row compared to the Japan players.

Having already lost Tupou's partner Tim Lafaele before the Shizuoka Test - he won't be fit for this weekend - it leaves coach Jamie Joseph struggling to put quality into his midfield.

Japan will also be without No 8 Hendrik Tui and outside back Shota Emi, both injured, forcing Joseph to call up New Zealand-born Luke Thompson and Shokei Kin.

Ireland's injury profile looks healthy enough, though scrum-half Luke McGrath is still struggling with an eye injury from Saturday. Simon Zebo took part in training yesterday, but it was no more than a walk-through in a local sports centre as part of their recovery from the weekend.

The fitness picture will be filled in after a more strenuous session today.

Irish Independent

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