At the other end, a spectacular try-saving tackle from man-of-the-match Niall Evalds on Jordan Rankin prevented the Tigers from hitting back before the break, while a string of handling errors proved costly when play resumed. And it was Jackson Hastings, on his final home appearance for the Red Devils, who sealed the win bell rugby channel a fine solo try around 10 minutes from time to put them within touching distance of a maiden Grand Final appearance. Ian Watson's side, operating on one of the lowest budgets in Super League, were widely expected to be involved in the relegation fight in
We are confident we can beat anyone. Whether Ireland are the best team in the world, we've prepared well, so we're confident we can beat them.
That's a movie-worthy scoreline. Japan has never scored 30 against Ireland, and Ireland has never scored less than 32 against Japan. Ireland has picked the same forward pack which dominated Scotland.
The changes are in the backline: British and Irish Lions backs Rob Kearney and Keith Earls have recovered from their injuries to appear in their third World Cup, and Sexton is nursing a sore quad, so the steering wheel has been given to an in-form Jack Carty, making only his second start.
Nobody in the Irish setup is concerned about Carty driving them to victory. He stays in the zone incredibly well. Fit-again No.
The moves don't add up to a side totally serious about upending the Irish. Also, beating Russia isn't a harbinger of a Brighton-type upset. Japan missed 19 tackles and conceded 18 turnovers, and was unreliable again under the high ball, which led to Russia scoring the opening try in the fifth minute.
The high ball has been a glaring weakness for Japan and, as Russia tried it with success, Ireland will be merciless with even better kick-chasers. So will attitude, and the Japanese are full of bravo. But the match starts in late afternoon light and finishes in darkness, and that's where Ireland intends to send the home side without another miracle ending.