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Japan 28-22 Samoa: Courageous Blossoms’ win places England into Rugby World Cup quarter-finals

Pieter Labuschagne scores the opening try of the game
Pieter Labuschagne went over within the thirteenth minute to open the scoring for Japan
Japan: (17) 28
Tries: Labuschagne, Leitch, Himeno; Pens: Matsuda 3; Cons: Matsuda 2
Samoa: (8) 22
Tries: Lam, Paia’aua, Leali’ifano; Pens: Leuila; Cons: Leali’ifano 2

England reached the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup because of a Japan win over Samoa which boosted the Courageous Blossoms’ personal knockout probabilities.

Japan noticed off the Pacific Islanders with tries from Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch and Kazuki Himeno, together with robust kicking by Rikiya Matsuda.

Samoa, who had winger Ben Lam despatched off, rallied late on however should now beat England for an opportunity of progressing.

However this outcome means England can’t be overtaken on the high of Pool D.

Samoa can now not match their present complete of 14 factors, whereas Steve Borthwick’s males have a superior head-to-head report over Japan and Argentina.

It removes the strain from England’s ultimate pool sport, towards the Samoans on 7 October, and means Borthwick might relaxation gamers for that sport earlier than a possible quarter-final towards Fiji.

2023 Rugby World Cup Pool D table, featuring England in first, Japan second, Samoa third, Argentina fourth and Chile fifth

Japan survive Samoa fightback

Each nations went into this sport in Toulouse with a practical likelihood of qualifying from Pool D – however provided that they gained.

Japan, in search of a second successive last-eight place, began the stronger and scored from their first main assault on 13 minutes.

Lomano Lemeki drove into house, bouncing off two Samoan defenders earlier than being held up 5 metres out. The ball got here to Labuschagne who bundled over.

Following an change of penalties, Japan appeared to take management of the match as they scored their second attempt to Samoa had a person sin-binned inside a matter of seconds.

Jonathan Taumateine was yellow-carded for a deal with off the ball within the build-up to Leitch extending Japan’s lead, as they shifted the ball out to the left once more and had been too fast for Samoa.

This sprang Samoa – who haven’t reached the knockout stage in 28 years – into life.

After the sport was made 14-men apiece when Japan hooker Shota Horie was sin-binned, Samoa’s personal quantity two Seilala Lam touched down following a large maul.

However the Pacific Islanders had been their very own worst enemies. Within the opening minutes of the second interval, Ben Lam was given a yellow card for an upright deal with and nasty conflict of heads – which was later upgraded – earlier than Kazuki Himeno scored following a Japan maul.

Samoa gave themselves hope and a shedding bonus level by way of Duncan Paia’aua and Christian Leali’ifano tries, however Japan held out by way of Matsuda’s dependable boot.

Japan, who’re aiming to repeat their efficiency as hosts 4 years in the past after they reached the knockouts, face what seems prone to be a winner-takes-all assembly with Argentina on 8 October.

Argentina match is Japan’s ‘grand ultimate’

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph on BBC Radio 5 Sports activities Further: “It’s the World Cup and it’s a huge win for us.

“Samoa have huge fellas they usually received on high of us loads. I’m pleased with the blokes. Samoa are loads larger than us, however we have now to work on a few issues too.”

On going through Argentina subsequent week: “That’s our grand ultimate, we get a chance to play a tier-one crew and the blokes might be wanting ahead to that match. It’s going to be a giant sport for us.”

Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua on BBC Radio 5 Sports activities additional: “I’m pleased with the blokes. The trouble and all the pieces they put into that sport I couldn’t ask for extra.

“It’s robust to be down with the crimson card and it’s unlucky for Ben Lam. Japan exploited the benefit they usually gained.”

On his facet’s self-discipline: “It is extremely regarding, we have now received to be tactically appropriate or we might be punished. We’re hopeful we are able to get it proper subsequent week.”


Japan: Lemeki; Matsushima, Riley, Nakamura, Naikabula; Matsuda, Saito; Inagaki, Horie, Gu, Cornelsen, Fakatava, Leitch, Labuschagne, Himeno.

Replacements: Sakate, Millar, Ai Valu, Dearns, Shimokawa, Fukuda, Lee, Osada.

Samoa: Paia’aua; Fidow, Manu, Leuila, Ben Lam; Leali’ifano, Taumateine; James Lay, Seilala Lam, Alo-Emile, Luatua, McFarland, Seu, Lee, Taufua.

Replacements: Malolo, Jordan Lay, Alaalatoa, Alainuuese, Motuga, Matavao, Fomai, Toala.

Match officers

Referee: Jaco Peyper

Contact judges: Ben O’Keeffe, Craig Evans

TMO: Marius Jonker

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