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Japan beat Samoa 28:22

Rugby World Cup 2023 | Match Centre | Japan 28:22 Samoa

England secured their spot in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup thanks to a crucial victory by Japan over Samoa. The Brave Blossoms triumphed over the Pacific Islanders, showcasing their prowess with tries from Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch, and Kazuki Himeno. Rikiya Matsuda’s precise kicking also played a significant role in Japan’s success.

Despite a late rally by Samoa, who had winger Ben Lam sent off during the match, they now face an uphill battle and must defeat England to have any chance of advancing. This outcome also solidifies England’s position at the top of Pool D. Samoa’s current point total of 14 can no longer match England’s, and England holds a superior head-to-head record against both Japan and Argentina.

With the pressure lifted from England’s final pool game against Samoa on October 7, coach Steve Borthwick may opt to rest key players in preparation for the anticipated quarter-final clash against Fiji.

The match in Toulouse was a high-stakes showdown, with both Japan and Samoa needing a victory to keep their hopes of advancing alive. Japan, aiming for a second consecutive quarter-final appearance, started strongly. They scored their first try just 13 minutes into the game when Lomano Lemeki broke through Samoan defenders, setting up Pieter Labuschagne’s try.

Japan continued to assert their dominance, securing their second try as Samoa suffered a yellow card for a tackle off the ball. Jonathan Taumateine’s sin-binning allowed Michael Leitch to extend Japan’s lead. However, Samoa fought back after Japan’s Shota Horie was sin-binned as well, with Seilala Lam scoring for Samoa.

Despite Samoa’s resurgence, they struggled with discipline, and Ben Lam’s yellow card early in the second half proved costly. Japan capitalized on the numerical advantage, with Kazuki Himeno scoring from a maul. Although Samoa managed to score through Duncan Paia’aua and Christian Leali’ifano, Japan held on for the win thanks to Rikiya Matsuda’s accurate kicking.

Japan’s path to the knockout stage now hinges on a potentially decisive clash with Argentina on October 8, as they seek to replicate their success as hosts from four years ago.

Match Summary

Pool D | Japan 28:22 Samoa

Japan Scores:

TRIES Pieter Labuschagne (13′), Michael Leitch (32′), Kazuki Himeno (49′)
CONV Rikiya Matsuda (15′, 33′)
PENS Rikiya Matsuda (28′, 56′, 75′)

Samoa Scores:

TRIES Seilala Lam (38′), Duncan Paia’aua (65′), Christian Leali’ifano (78′)
CONV Christian Leali’ifano (66′, 79′)
PENS Alai D’Angelo Leuila (25′)
Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse


Jaco Peyper

Man of the match:

Lomano Lemeki (Japan)


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