The Courageous Blossoms win 28-22 in Toulouse to arrange a Pool D showdown with the Pumas
Japan keep within the struggle for the quarter-finals. An in the end nervy win over Samoa means the Courageous Blossoms face a shootout subsequent week with Argentina to find out who will qualify from Pool D alongside England. Steve Borthwick’s group have been confirmed as pool winners.
Solely two factors separated these two groups after they met in Sapporo two months in the past and just one place separated them on this planet rankings.
But for a lot of this crucial Rugby World Cup match the hole appeared significantly wider. Not for the primary time on this event, Samoa have been suffering from indiscipline. A raft of penalties was accompanied by one yellow card and one crimson – wing Ben Lam getting his marching orders for a excessive deal with early within the second half.
The match had been sluggish to return to life, even permitting for a well-executed attempt by Japan flanker Pieter Labuschagne after an early preliminary incision down the left.
Alai D’Angelo Leuila and Rikiya Matsuda exchanged penalties earlier than Japan struck once more. This time Michael Leitch was the beneficiary and Jonathan Taumateine, on his twenty seventh birthday, was despatched to the sin-bin for a foolish off-the-ball shove at one of many rucks that preceded it.
Matsuda’s touchline conversion made it 17-3 and issues appeared bleak for Samoa. That they had blown one nice likelihood from a 5m scrum when a swap move by Taumateine failed to search out Ben Lam. However stand-off Christian Leali’ifano, filling in as an emergency 9, bought the Islanders shifting upfield once more with renewed vitality.
The numbers have been balanced up when Japan hooker Shota Horie was binned for a head-on-head deal with. Samoa kicked to the nook and Seilala Lam rumbled over from the driving maul – one side they’ve excelled at throughout this event. Half-time was reached, 17-8.
Samoa had 40 minutes to redeem themselves however their ambition was grievously compromised after a poor deal with by Ben Lam on to the top of Labuschagne. It appeared a sure-fire crimson card and inside a couple of minutes that was confirmed by the TMO Bunker. It was the seventh dismissal of this event.
To make issues worse, No 8 Kazuki Himeno crashed over from the following driving maul to increase Japan’s result in two full scores, 22-8.
Matsuda prolonged that with one other purpose, then Kotaro Matsushima had a attempt chalked off due to a knock-on by Dylan Riley.
There was no elevating of the white flag by Samoa, who hit again with a attempt by Duncan Paia’aua that Leali’ifano transformed from extensive out.
And after Matsuda stroked over one other three-pointer, Leali’ifano went over for Samoa’s third attempt with three minutes remaining. At 28-22, they’d one final likelihood to salvage a unprecedented victory.
However there was to be no miracle. It’s Japan who dream of larger issues in France – and Samoa who’re left licking their wounds and questioning the place it has gone flawed.
Each groups made late modifications earlier than the match. Japan scrum-half Yukata Nagare missed out with a good calf, with Naoto Saito beginning and the uncapped Kenta Fukuda on the bench.
For Samoa, captain and second-row Chris Vui dropped out to take care of a private matter. Steven Luatua was promoted from the bench and Fritz Lee took the armband.
Japan head coach Jamie Joseph stated: “In the present day simply means we bought a chance to get to a quarter-final. It was a match we needed to win and that’s what we’ve carried out. The sport itself was an actual arm wrestle. Samoa’s gamers are huge and bodily and it was troublesome for us, with the model of rugby we play. The crimson card hit them however I believe the 2 groups are very even.”
His counterpart, Seilala Mapusua, stated: “We nonetheless have yet another sport and we’ve got lots to play for. We could also be out of the quarter-finals however we need to ensure that we robotically qualify for Australia 2027 [by finishing third in the pool], which is a really huge carrot for us.
“Samoa don’t get many possibilities to play England, so we will likely be placing every thing into that sport. We need to end the event on a constructive word.”
Japan Lomano Lemeki; Kotaro Matsushima, Dylan Riley, Ryoto Nakamura, Jone Naikabula; Rikiya Matsuda, Naoto Saito; Keita Inagaki, Shota Horie, Jiwon Gu, Jack Cornelsen, Amato Fakatava, Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagne, Kazuki Himeno (capt).
Replacements 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Warner Dearns, 20 Kanji Shimokawa, 21 Kenta Fukuda, 22 Seungsin Lee, 23 Tomoki Osada.
Samoa Duncan Paia’aua; Ed Fidow, Tumua Manu, Alai D’Angelo Leuila, Ben Lam; Christian Leali’ifano, Jonathan Taumateine; James Lay, Seilala Lam, Paul Alo-Emile, Steven Luatua, Theo McFarland, Taleni Junior Agaese Seu, Fritz Lee (capt), Sa Jordan Taufua.
Replacements 16 Sama Malolo, 17 Jordan Lay, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Brian Alainu’u’ese, 20 Alamanda Motuga, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Neria Fomai, 23 Danny Toala.