Back-rower Jordi Murphy was due to arrive in Japan on Sunday as an injury replacement for Jack Conan as the Ireland squad began to pick up the pieces from its damaging World Cup Pool A defeat to Japan.
No. 8 Conan, a substitute in the 27-3 victory over Scotland a week ago, fractured a foot in training three days ago with head coach Joe Schmidt confirming on Saturday that the Leinster back-rower’s World Cup was over.
Murphy had been withdrawn from the Ulster squad for last Friday’s Guinness PRO14 opener against Ospreys in Belfast and the 28-year-old was due to join the Ireland camp in Kobe as the touring party transferred west from Shizuoka following its shock 19-12 defeat to Japan.
Murphy’s one previous World Cup appearance came against Argentina in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final defeat and he could be parachuted straight into the matchday 23 for Thursday’s game against Russia.
He will link up with a shellshocked squad following Saturday’s loss in Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa but Jack Carty believes Ireland will have no time to mope as they prepare for a collective test of character this week.
The fly-half was left “pretty gutted” by the loss to the number nine side in the world rankings that has eroded Ireland’s position of dominance in Pool A and blown the group wide open.
Yet with pool outsiders Russia to play this Thursday he said Schmidt’s players have no choice but to get their house in order in the short five-day turnaround between games.
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Ireland lost an early 12-3 lead in which Carty figured prominently in building with pinpoint crossfield kick for Garry Ringrose to score the opener and an excellent aerial tap back from his own chip for Rob Kearney to add a second inside 20 minutes. Poor Irish discipline allowed the Brave Blossoms to climb back into the contest, however, and after Yo Tamura kicked Japan to within three points, a Kenki Fukoaka try on 59 minutes gave the host nation a lead they would not surrender as Ireland lost their way in the second half.
Japan head coach Jamie Joseph had said post-match that his squad had been preparing for three years to face fellow New Zealander Schmidt’s side whereas Ireland had only turned their attentions to the Brave Blossoms once they had beaten Scotland six days earlier.
Carty disputed that assertion.
‘I wouldn’t think so. There are numerous occasions when we were training and if there was turnovers Joe would allude to the Japanese backfield cutting us up and moving the ball to width so I wouldn’t say that would be true at all. We spoke about the threats that Japan had the whole way through the pre-season.”
Asked if the Ireland squad can learn from the Japan loss in the coming days, Carty said: “I certainly hope so and it will have to be. We’re going to have to look at what went wrong and when we come out again on Thursday we’ll have to put those right.
“Yeah, we have to (turn it around). We’re going to have to stay tight. There will probably be a lot of questions from the outside and I think it’s going to speak volumes for the team character how we show up on Thursday.”
Carty credited the Japanese team and their supporters for their performance and admitted he was: “Pretty gutted but fair play to Japan.
“The way they played caused us problems. Just gutted but we have to dust ourselves off and with a five-day turnaround so there’s no time to be moping. So we’ll take our medicine tonight and we’ll look to rebuild tomorrow.
“We’re going to have to take a hard look at ourselves. I suppose the fact that it’s quick turnaround we’re not to be feeling too sorry for ourselves, We have to look at what went wrong and repair it quickly because we have to get things right for Thursday.”
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