Japan's William Tupou (right) is tackled by Ireland's Paddy Jackson (top) and Garry Ringrose (centre) during their rugby union Test match in Shizuoka. REUTERS

TOKYO: Japan back William Tupou has been handed a three-match ban for dangerous play in last weekend’s home defeat by Ireland, Japanese officials said Monday.

The 26-year-old, once a budding Wallabies prospect, won his first cap for Japan on Saturday but was cited for a spear tackle 16 minutes into the second half in Shizuoka. Ireland went on to an easy 50-22 win.

Tupou will miss this weekend’s second Test against Ireland in Tokyo as well as Super Rugby games with Japan’s Sunwolves away to South Africa’s Golden Lions on July 2 and Western Stormers on July 9.

Japan, who face Ireland in the pool phase as co-hosts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, have never beaten the world’s third-ranked side in six meetings.

Brave Blossoms coach Jamie Joseph has called up 36-year-old lock Luke Thompson for Saturday’s second test against the Irish.

The New Zealand-born player retired after the 2015 World Cup but returns alongside wing Akihito Yamada, who has recovered from a hamstring problem he sustained in Japan’s 33-21 win over Romania earlier this month.

Japan shed their tag as perennial pushovers at the 2015 World Cup, winning three games under Eddie Jones, including an astonishing upset of two-time winners South Africa.

But they have failed to kick on significantly since with Joseph under pressure to manage expectations ahead of 2019.--AFP

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