Head coach Jamie Joseph 'proud' of Japan's performance

Japan currently are at top of Pool A
Japan currently are at top of Pool A
©Steve Haag

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph lavished praise on his side following their 38-19 bonus-point win over Samoa at City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday.

The first half looked very competitive with both the teams going equal at 6-6 in the first quarter before Timothy Lafaele's try provided Japan with an advantage of 16-9 lead at the end of the first half.

The gap between the two remained the same until the 74th minute after Kazuki Himeno and Henry Taefu traded tries before the Brave Blossoms sealed the game with two late tries from Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima.

"I'm really proud of our team, especially at the end," said Joseph following the game.

"There was a never-say-die attitude, and we knew it was going to be a real physical battle and Samoa did not let us down. They were quite impressive given they had played a Test just four days ago.

"But, at the end of the day, the belief in our team has grown. I guess we will need that going into next week".

The win was also Japan's third consecutive victory in as many games as they now hold the top place in Pool A but with Ireland facing Samoa and Scotland having a game against Russia, the Brave Blossoms could reach the top eight even if they lose their final game against Gregor Townsend provided they claim a bonus point.

"I think our focus is to go out there and win the match – then things will take care of themselves," Joseph said on the scenarios for the final pool match.

"For the first time ever, Japan have put themselves in a position where they can top the pool. It's new territory for us.

"We go game by game. We will enjoy this win, then get back on the horse for what will be a really tough game against Scotland."