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Stuart McCloskey and Jacob Stockdale score tries as Ireland beat Japan in summer series opener at Aviva Stadium

Ireland 39-31 Japan

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Ireland’s Peter O'Mahony offloads to Stuart McCloskey as Jacob Stockdale watches on. Pic: INPHO/Gary Carr

Ireland’s Peter O'Mahony offloads to Stuart McCloskey as Jacob Stockdale watches on. Pic: INPHO/Gary Carr

©INPHO/Gary Carr

Ireland's Jacob Stockdale celebrates scoring his side's fifth try of the game during the Summer Series match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture date: Saturday July 3, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Donall Farmer/PA Wire.

RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

Ireland's Jacob Stockdale celebrates scoring his side's fifth try of the game during the Summer Series match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture date: Saturday July 3, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Donall Farmer/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

PA

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 3/7/2021
Ireland vs Japan
Ireland's Billy Burns celebrates with Jacob Stockdale after he scores a try
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 3/7/2021 Ireland vs Japan Ireland's Billy Burns celebrates with Jacob Stockdale after he scores a try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 3/7/2021
Ireland vs Japan
Japan's Kotaro Matsushima tackles Jacob Stockdale of Ireland 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 3/7/2021 Ireland vs Japan Japan's Kotaro Matsushima tackles Jacob Stockdale of Ireland Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 3/7/2021
Ireland vs Japan
Ireland's Stuart McCloskey is tackled by Atsushi Sakate and Pieter Labuschagne of Japan
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Vodafone Summer Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 3/7/2021 Ireland vs Japan Ireland's Stuart McCloskey is tackled by Atsushi Sakate and Pieter Labuschagne of Japan Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Ireland preparing to take on Japan. Pic: Donall Farmer/PA Wire.

Ireland preparing to take on Japan. Pic: Donall Farmer/PA Wire.

PA

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Ireland’s Peter O'Mahony offloads to Stuart McCloskey as Jacob Stockdale watches on. Pic: INPHO/Gary Carr

Ulster duo Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey both scored tries as Ireland got their summer series off to a winning start against Japan in Dublin.

Ireland shrugged off the absence of several senior personnel in a fluctuating summer Test as supporters returned to the Aviva Stadium for the first time in 17 months.

With seven of their contingent on British and Irish Lions duty and captain Johnny Sexton, plus Keith Earls and Cian Healy, rested, there was a fresh look to the hosts in their first meeting against Japan since the 2019 World Cup.

On that occasion, Japan pulled off an all-time shock in the pool stages and they threatened a repeat in Dublin, where around 3,000 spectators were in attendance at the venue for the first time since February last year.

It was a lacklustre and error-strewn first half from the Irish but they went in at the interval 19-17 ahead courtesy of tries from centre pairing Chris Farrell and McCloskey as well as tighthead prop Finlay Bealham.

Flanker Josh Van Der Flier and Stockdale went over after the break while Joey Carbery's four conversions were followed by two penalties that ultimately took the wind out of the sails of Japan, whose tries came from Michael Leitch, Timothy Lafaele, Siosaia Fifita and Naoto Saito, with Yu Tamura adding 11 points with the boot.

While they led on several occasions, including a 24-19 advantage in the second half, Japan were ultimately left to reflect on a successive losses, having been beaten by Warren Gatland's Lions 28-10 at Edinburgh last weekend.

Here's the game as it happened:

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