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Ireland vs Japan Picks and Odds

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Rugby

Updated Jul 1, 2021 · 8:58 PM PDT

Ireland's Cian Healy leaves the pitch after a clash of heads
Ireland's Cian Healy leaves the pitch after a clash of heads during the Six Nations rugby union match between Ireland and France Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Brian Lawless, Pool via AP)
  • Ireland are -380 home favorites over Japan in an international rugby union test match on Saturday, July 3rd, at Aviva Stadium in Dublin
  • The 2019 Rugby World Cup saw hosts Japan defeat Ireland 19-12
  • It was the first win by the Japanese in eight matches against the Irish

The last time Japan was facing Ireland on the rugby pitch, it was arguably the greatest moment for the Japanese in the history of the sport. Playing host to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Japan defeat Ireland 19-12 in group play. It was the first chance the Japanese were ever given to celebrate a win over the Irish.

That victory enabled the Brave Blossoms to advance to the RWC knockout phase for the first time ever. Not nearly as much will be on the line when the two nations meet again Saturday at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The restoration of Irish pride will be, though, and online sportsbooks are laying odds that it will be attained. Ireland are listed as -380 favorites to win this test match.

Ireland vs Japan International Rugby Odds

Player Moneyline Spread Total at FanDuel
Ireland -380 -10 (-105) OFF
Japan +330 +10 (-105) OFF

Odds as of July 1st

Kickoff for the match is set for 8am ET. The broadcast will be available on NBC Peacock. There will be 3,000 specators inside Aviva Stadium. It’s the first crowd that will be watching Ireland play since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Inexperienced Irish Side

Seven Irish players are on British and Irish Lions duty. Ireland are resting three other senior players. That’s leading to significant inexperience among Ireland’s 37-player squad. There are a dozen players who hope to be earning their first cap.

Leinster full-back Hugo Keenan is the only player on the roster to play in all 11 of Ireland’s test matches since international rugby’s return following the COVID-19 break. Fly-half and captain Johnny Sexton, prop Cian Healy and winger Keith Earls are the veterans Irish coach Andy Farrell is opting not to call up for Ireland’s summer test matches.

Among those listing as unavailable through injust are scrum-half John Cooney, prop Eric O’Sullivan, lock Gavin Thornbury and wing/full-back James Lowe. A shoulder injury is ruling out center Gary Ringrose.

There were fears that James Ryan, named captain of the Irish squad for this match and the upcoming test against the USA, might not be available for duty. However, the Leinster second-row forward has been cleared to play after nursing an adductor injury.

Ryan, Chris Farrell, Jacob Stockdale, Josh van der Flier and Peter O’Mahony are the only players in the Irish side who started in the Rugby World Cup loss to Japan.

Japanese Play Lions Tough

Opening its British tour by playing the British and Irish Lions, the Japanese gave a good accounting before falling 28-10. It was Japan’s first international rugby match since October of 2019.

Nine players who started against Ireland in the 19-12 victory at the RWC are are also slated to be in the starting 15 for this test match. They include fly-half Yu Tamura, kicker of four penalties in that historic triumph.

Backs Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele and Ryoto Nakamura and forwards Lappies Labuschagne, Kazuki Himeno, James Moore, Koo Ji-won and Keita Inagaki are all back to face Ireland again. Flanker Mike Leitch, who came off the bench against Ireland at the RWC, will captain the Japanese side.

At a size disadvantage against most sides, Japan counts on the fitness and speed of their squad to be giving them an edge on the pitch. They’ve proven capable of major upsets. At the 2015 RWC, the Japanese toppled current world champions South Africa.

Pick: Ireland -10 (-105)

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