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Griffin scores twice to earn Ireland win in final game

Griffin scores twice to earn Ireland win in final game

Ciara Griffin enjoyed a dream end to her Ireland career as she led her side to a 15-12 win over Japan, scoring twice as Ireland came from behind.

Ireland went into the break 12-3 down and with only 14 women after Hannah O’Connor was sent off for a dangerous tackle.

Griffin then got Ireland’s first try of the game, before adding another soon after as Ireland held off Japan’s attacks to secure a fitting send off for their captain and head coach Adam Griggs.

An emotional Griffin led out Ireland out for the final time before she hangs up her boots, and saw her side go ahead early on through an easy penalty from Enya Breen.

The Irish dominated Japan in the scrum, but it was the Cherry Blossoms who got the first try of the game, Mana Furuta dotting down as the Japanese exploited Ireland’s gaps in the middle of the field.

Matters then got worse for Ireland as O’Connor was show a red card on the half-hour mark for a high tackle, and Japan made use of the player-advantage, Seina Saito going over as Ireland’s resistance on the line was broken at the fourth attempt.

The home side were able to cling on until half-time, denying Japan a third, to end the half with a nine-point deficit at the RDS Arena.

Not content to lose on her final appearance in a green jersey, Griffin inspired an Ireland fightback after the break.

The flanker blocked a kick on the Japanese try line and hoovered up the loose ball as she was engulfed by her teammates and the roar of the Irish crowd.

Ten minutes later she earned Ireland the lead, driving under the posts for her second with the TMO unable to prove she hadn’t dotted down cleanly, Breen added the extras to give the home side a three-point lead.

The TMO did rule out an Aoife Doyle try for a knock-on before it was Japan’s turn to try to force their way back ahead.

Ireland were able to clear and then won a penalty but Breen missed from in front of the posts to invite the visitors back into the game.

With just five minutes to go, Japan again found their way through the centre before extracting a penalty for offside, instead of kicking for points, Japan opted for a tap and go and after heavy defence from Ireland including Griffin once again, Ireland survived.

As the clock went red, Japan were awarded another penalty and again went for the tap and go as they searched for the win, but again they were unsuccessful and in her final match, Griffin got the final touch as she kicked the ball out to confirm Ireland’s defiant win.