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We see weaknesses, insist Japan duo

Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Despite Ireland limiting Scotland to only a single penalty, Japanese players Uwe Helu and Tim Lafaele say they have spotted vulnerabilities ahead of this weekend's game between the hosts and Joe Schmidt's men.

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Helu believes the aggressive style defence coach Andy Farrell used to shut down Scotland's playmakers leaves space that Japan's back-three can exploit.

"For me, watching that I feel we'll have some opportunities," said the Tongan-born Sunwolves forward of Ireland's win. "Like, when they defend they get quite close to each other. (Out wide), that's where I think the space is."

From their base in Hamamatsu ahead of Saturday's clash in Shizuoka, Helu predicted that Ireland may already be looking ahead to their presumptive quarter-final with South Africa.

"Everyone expects Ireland to win because they're No.1 at the moment," he said, although Ireland actually fell to No.2 thanks to New Zealand's win over the Springboks. "They will look down on us. We'll do everything when we get our chance.

"Every game for us is a final so we'll give everything. We're hosting the World Cup. There's nothing for us to leave behind."

Lafaele, whose sublime offload was the moment of the opening game against Russia, also stressed the importance of utilising space out wide, adding that Ireland also looked shaky under the high ball in Yokohama.

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"That's always been a key part of our game, getting the ball into the space with our wingers there," he said.

"I watched (Ireland's) game yesterday. There were a few dropped high balls."

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