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Japan vs Samoa, Rugby World Cup 2019: Result and reaction

Re-live all the action from Toyota

 

Samuel Lovett
Saturday 05 October 2019 14:41
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Fireworks in Japan after host nation's Rugby World Cup win over Ireland

Kotaro Matsushima scored a bonus-point try deep into injury time as Japan moved to the brink of their first Rugby World Cup quarter-final with a 38-19 Pool A victory over Samoa.

The hosts, who turned the tournament upside down when they beat Ireland last week, moved to the top of the pool with 14 points and also secured their third victory in the pool phase for the second successive World Cup.

The loss ended the Pacific Islanders’ chances of their first place in the knockout phase since 1995, although the grouping is not likely to be decided until Japan play Scotland in Yokohama in the last game of the pool phase on 13 October. Re-live action below:

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Hello all and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of this morning's Rugby World Cup clash between hosts Japan and Samoa.

I'll be bringing you all the live action, reaction and analysis from Toyota - so make sure to stay tuned!

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 04:27
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Hello, hello! I'm back and currently in place at the Toyota Stadium! Forgot 'boring' England - tonight is all about dark horses, and every neutral's firm favourites, Japan.

The Brave Blossoms have been a breath of fresh air at the tournament, having ripped up the pre-set narrative and announced themselves as a genuine force to be reckoned with.

They take on a Samoan side that will be licking their wounds after Monday's hammering at the hands of Scotland. And if the Japanese roll out another five-star performance, Steve Jackson's men look to be in store for another bruising.

I'll be bringing you all the build-up to tonight's match so... STICK AROUND!

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 10:32
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We've got just under an hour to go until kick-off but already the atmosphere is bubbling away like a pot of fine English tea (safe to say it's been a while since my last cuppa of PG Tips -  they don't really do that here).

Michael Leitch, who returns to the line-up after his strange omission from the XV that started against Ireland, has already been out for a quick scout of the turf by himself. The 30-year-old was met with a warm round of applause from those particularly eager fans who have already settled into their seats.

The man is adored here, having moved to Japan from New Zealand at the tender age of 15. He now reckons he speaks Japanese better than he does English. I've picked up a few terms (arigato gozaimasu!) since I got here but reckon I've got a long way to go...

Anyways, tonight should make for another electric evening courtesy of the home faithful. They've been awesome so far, and with so much on the line, they'll be wanting to draw out every last drop from their men.

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 10:39
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Pieter Labuschagne has retained the captaincy after leading out the Brave Blossoms against the Irish. And with Michael Leitch back in the line-up, Japan attack coach Tony Brown believes having "two captains" will only help embolden the nation’s World Cup hopes.

"I think 'Lappies' and Leitch are both outstanding leaders," Brown said at the pre-match press conference earlier this year. "Obviously Lappies has been fully fit and playing fine in every game so far.

"Michael has been in and out of the team this year so Lappies is a natural guy to take over.

"With the two captains running the team it will help the performance of the team and keep us sharp under pressure."

Pieter Labuschagne in action against the Irish 

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 10:44
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Samoa coach Steve Jackson has made six changes to the Samoa side that was thumped by the Scots on Monday.

Loose-head prop Jordan Lay, second-row Piula Faasalele and fly-half Ulupano Seuteni all make their first starts at the World Cup, as does hooker Seilala Lam, alongside brother and captain Jack.

Also making his first start - and appearance - at the tournament is Ah See Tuala. On the other wing, Ed Fidow starts having been cleared to play following his sending off against Scotland for two yellow-card offences.

Tusi Pisi, who has been receiving a lot of attention from the Japanese media having just returned to the country to play his club rugby, drops to the bench.

TJ Ioane and Tim Nanai-Williams are the only survivors from the XV who started against Japan at the 2015 edition of the World Cup.

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 10:50
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Here's a reminder how Pool A looks at the moment.

1. Ireland (Played 3) - 11pts

2. Japan (2) - 9pts

3. Scotland (2) - 5pts

4. Samoa (2) - 5pts

5. Russia (3) - 0pts

Should they win tonight, Japan will return to the top of the group and take another huge step to securing their place in the quarter-finals of the RWC - something they've never done before.

Nonetheless, the match against Scotland on the final day of the group stages will still determine their fate. Assuming they were to lose to the Scots, and results elsewhere go against them, it's plausible the Brave Blossoms could end their campaign in third. What a sucker punch to the gut that would be. Personally, I don't think it's going to happen. But I've been horribly wrong about this stuff before.

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 11:01
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I’ve already mentioned the crowd tonight. Aside from two pockets of blue, the stadium is a sea of red and white stripes. It’s going to make for pretty overwhelming conditions - though Samoa have insisted it’s nothing they won’t be able to deal with.

"We know what's going to come," Samoa replacement prop Paul Alo-Emile told reporters on Friday. "It's going to be a big crowd, it's going to be a loud crowd cheering for Japan.

"But there's not much we can do to control that so we will focus on ourselves and what we can produce."

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 11:07
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Over in Tokyo, England have wrapped up proceedings. They've beaten 14-man Argentina to secure their place in the quarter-finals of the competition. You can follow reaction to that match below, or, y'know, you can stick around with me. No judgement here...

 

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 11:11
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Just over 15 minutes to go until kick-off. Samoa have done with their last-minute preparations and head down into the tunnel. Japan still working away over in the left-hand corner. They look up for this.

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 11:13
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Toyota Stadium close to capacity now as the teams are read out. The Samoans go first. A polite clap from the crowd...

Samuel Lovett5 October 2019 11:19

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