Japan 38-19 Samoa, City of Toyota Stadium
Japan maintained their winning streak in the ongoing Rugby World Cup with a 38-19 bonus point win over Samoa in their Pool A encounter at City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday.
This is Japan's third win from as many games as they go to the top of the table with 14 points and will face Scotland in the final game of the round while Samoa are fourth with five points.
The opening 16 minutes saw Yu Tamura and Henry Taefu exchange two penalties apiece as the teams were levelled 6-6. Japan reclaimed the lead with a third three-pointer from Tamura in the 25th minute and a minute later Samoa were reduced to 14-men with TJ Ioane sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Kotaro Matsushima.
The home side made immediate use of their numerical advantage as Matsushima sped deep into Samoa's 22 but was grounded. The ball was recycled and was passed to Timothy Lafaele, who scored the opening try of the game in the 28th minute that was improved by Tamura. As the half-time was approaching Taefu kicked his third penalty goal as the teams went into the break with a 16-9 scoreline.
Taefu kept Samoa in the hunt with his fourth penalty kick at the start of the second half with the gap coming down to four points but Tamura's three-pointer in the 51st minute restored the seven-point lead for the Brave Blossoms. Japan extended their lead further when Kazuki Himeno crossed the whitewash in the 54th minute and Tamura was once again spot on with the conversion taking the scoreline to 26-12.
Samoa tried to fight back into the game with some desperate effort that was rewarded when Taefu dived from close range in the 73rd minute after good work from Kane Le’aupepe and Jack Lam. The Samoa centre also kicked the conversion taking the gap down to seven points again but Japan ensured their was no slip up with late tries from Kenki Fukuoka (76') and Kotaro Matsushima (80') to ensure they completed a 38-19 bonus point victory.
??"...A physical battle…but the focus is on the next important game v Scotland"— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 5, 2019
Hear from @JRFURugby coach Jamie Joseph, as he reflects on another win for his side #RWC2019 #JPNvSAM #RWCCityOfToyota pic.twitter.com/JgPcZeUrou