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Japan's 'Ferrari' ready to take on Ireland's three-tonne truck

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By Reuters
Japan's 'Ferrari' ready to take on Ireland's three-tonne truck
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool A - Japan v Russia - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - September 20, 2019 Japan's Kotaro Matsushima scores a try REUTERS/Issei Kato   -   Copyright  ISSEI KATO(Reuters)

By Padraic Halpin

SHIZUOKA, Japan (Reuters) – Japan speedster Kotaro Matsushima earned the nickname ‘Ferrari’ after his game one exploits but the host’s hat-trick hero said he will face a three-tonne truck in Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale on Saturday.

After Matsushima left his Russian opponents for dead to lead Japan to a 30-10 win in the tournament opener, coach Jamie Joseph likened his pacey match winner to the luxury Italian sports car.

The hat-trick made it 20 tries in 35 tests for the South African-born flyer but in the imposing 1.91 metre Stockdale, he faces an opposing winger who has scored 16 tries in 22 tests against some of the world’s best.

“Well he’s big, so a speedy truck I would say. A two or three metric tonne truck,” Matsushima told a news conference when asked what he would compare Ireland’s number 11 to.

Rugby’s growing list of vehicular nicknames also includes Fiji centre Semi “semi-trailer” Radradra.

Asked if he agreed with the Ferrari nickname, Matsushima said giving himself a nickname was difficult but defence coach Scott Hansen had some friendly advice for him.

“Ferrari’s are high maintenance,” he joked.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)