Rugby World Cup 2019: Joe Schmidt expecting strong Ireland response after Japan defeat

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is disappointed in his team's performance against Japan, and knows they'll be judged on how they respond to their 19-12 defeat at the Rugby World Cup. 

The Irish raced out to a 12-0 lead but took their foot off the throttle, and Japan clawed their way back into the contest before sealing the result in the closing stages. 

It was Japan's first-ever victory against Ireland, having lost each of their previous seven by an average margin of 31 points.

Victory means Japan are likely to make the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

While they have a week to prepare for their next game against Samoa, Ireland only has four days before they face Russia on Thursday. 

A saddened Schmidt is expecting a tough challenge from Russia.  

"To have scored two tries in the first quarter and not to add to that is incredibly, incredibly disappointing," said Schmidt. "We've got to be better at what we're doing, and we've got to demonstrate that in five days' time.

"The strength of the team will be how they respond and rebound from this. A six-day turnaround was a little bit tough, and we've got a five-day turnaround now into the Russian game in Kobe on Thursday. So that will be another challenge for us.

"We're doing an open session in Kobe on Tuesday, and that will be the only training we'll have in the lead-up to Russia, who have already proved themselves to be very, very physical, very combative and aggressive. They stayed in the game for a long time against the Japanese.

"We're anticipating a very tough game in five days' time. We're going to have to dust ourselves off and certainly perform better than we did tonight."

Schmidt added he was not surprised by Japan's performance.

"It's not the first time we've seen them do it. It's not a surprise to us that they were incredibly tough to beat.

"It unfortunately met my expectations. We expected them to be as good as they were. We knew they were going to be incredibly tough, and so it proved.

"But I'd like to congratulate the Japanese team for the energy, the intensity, the skill they brought to the game tonight. They are a big team, they played big, and they were very difficult to contain."

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The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

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