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Lemeki: 'We'll win 33-20'

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One Japanese player reckons the hosts will beat Ireland by 13 points for one very good reason

Japan’s Lomano Lemeki has made a bold claim ahead of the host nation’s RWC pool game with Ireland in Shizuoka on Saturday. 

Both teams go into the game fresh from opening round victories, but Lemeki believes the legacy from the Irish win over Scotland will be crucial in tilting the balance in favour of the Japanese. “We’ll win 33-20. Why? Because we train hard and Sexton is not 100 per cent,” he said confidently.  

“Number nine and 10 are key players (for Ireland). I don’t know whether they are going to be on the field or not, but if they are there they want to take control, they are like the head coaches of the team. 

“We want to frustrate them in the tackle. Both wingers are quality wingers, they have strong forwards, strong backs, but the key player is the 10,” he explained, adding that the Japanese have no fear of contesting in the air.  

“Just catch the ball. Catch the high ball first of all, and if we catch it we can attack. I just need to do my best. As long as we can catch the ball it will be no problem.”

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Japan attack coach Tony Brown is expecting a very entertaining contest against an opposition coached by fellow New Zealander, Joe Schmidt. “I haven’t worked with Joe but obviously he’s one of the best coaches in the world, very similar philosophies on how we try to play the game. 

“He’s got Ireland playing the best rugby they’ve ever played in their history, they have achieved many great things under Joe. It’ll be an entertaining match because I think we have similar philosophies.

“We have come a long way in the last couple of years in trying to play a balanced game of rugby. Our set-piece has improved a great deal in the last couple of years. 

“Now the balance of our game is pretty good, we want to play at speed for sure but if we want to slow the game down or control the speed I think we’re able to do that as well.”

WATCH: The trailer for the new RugbyPass documentary, Tonga: Road To Japan

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One Japanese player reckons the hosts will beat Ireland by 13 points for one very good reason