Tuesday 16 January 2018

Japan centre handed three-week ban for tip tackle on Devin Toner

Devin Toner of Ireland with Fumiaki Tanaka of Japan after the international rugby match between Japan and Ireland at the Shizuoka Epoca Stadium in Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Devin Toner of Ireland with Fumiaki Tanaka of Japan after the international rugby match between Japan and Ireland at the Shizuoka Epoca Stadium in Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning

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 in the run up to 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 number eight 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 scrumhalf Luke McGrath is still struggling with an eye injury from Saturday. Simon Zebo took part in training today though 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 tomorrow.

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