Cork rugby brothers Niall and Rory Scannell ready to wrestle with Japan

Cork rugby brothers Niall and Rory Scannell ready to wrestle with Japan
Niall Scannell and John Ryan with a sumo wrestler as the Irish squad visited Sumo Stables in Tokyo. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

NO this is not the new Irish front row, but it did give Cork pair Niall Scannell and John Ryan a taste of what they can expect when they line out against Japan on Saturday.

The pair, who have themselves blossomed this season under Joe Schmidt, will face a much tougher test from the Cherry Blossoms up front this weekend than they got from the USA last Saturday but they will be ready for it after getting first-hand advice yesterday from Sumo wrestler Akasikyi.

The Irish touring party had some time off yesterday as they attempted to acclimatise to the heat and humidity in Japan and were brought to see the famous wrestlers in action at one of Japan’s top wrestling dojos.

Douglas man Scannell will be hoping that younger brother Rory will also open his account after coming close last weekend.

The Dolphin pair joined a unique band of brothers to play for Ireland with the most recent being the Kearneys, David and Rob, The Wallaces, Paul David and Richard were the last set of Munster-born brothers to represent Ireland.

Hooker Scannell will be aiming to add to his international try account after opening it last Saturday in Ireland 55-19 win but knows they will face a stern test in the set piece.

“It was brilliant he (Rory) had an impact on the game. Your first cap; you want it to be a significant bit of game time. He’s been banging on the door so it was brilliant to see him get the cap. Great day for the family. He’ll be looking to kick on if he gets his chance this week.” 

The 25-year old has had to bide his time for international honours with the likes of Rory Best and Sean Cronin ahead of him in the picking order, but he made the most of his chance when he got it in the Six Nations earlier this year.

He knows the Irish face a searching test against Japan in these conditions and the inexperienced tourists are going to need extend Ireland’s perfect record against them to six games.

“They’ll bring a dominant scrum, a massively contested area, and so will the lineouts. That’s what we’ve focused on primarily since landing here. They really acquitted themselves very well there against Romania.”

Meanwhile, Peter O'Mahony will captain the British & Irish Lions against the Maori All Blacks at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday.

The Munster skipper follows Sam Warburton, Ken Owens and Alun Wyn Jones in leading the 2017 Lions in what has been billed the fourth test.

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