Rugby World Cup 2019 host Japan defeated Samoa 38-19 in a Pool A third-round match at City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday, 5 October. Japan led 16-9 at the break.
With their third win, Japan tops Pool A with a 3-0 record with 14 points. Japan opened the World Cup with a 30-10 win over Russia and then beat Ireland 19-12. The team also won three matches in the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and became the first team not to advance to the Cup Quarterfinals after gaining three victories. They now need to beat Scotland in their final pool match.
Scotland some Samoan help with a win over Ireland in their concluding pool match on 12 October. Scotland, in turn, will need to win out against Russia on 9 October and then beat Japan in a short turn-around on 13 October.
Both Japan and Ireland are favored to advance to the Cup Quarterfinals.
Early errors plagued both teams with Japan taking an early 6-0 lead after Yu Tamura slotted two penalty goals. Samoa answered back with a pair of penalty goals by henry Taefu to level the match at 6 all.
After TJ Ioane was sent to the bin for a late tackle, Tamura slotted another for a 9-6 Brave Blossoms lead.
Soon after, wing Timothy Lafale scored the first try of the match for Japan with Tamura adding the extras to push the lead to 16-6.
Samoa answered back with a penalty goal by Taefu to cut Japan lead at the break to 16-9.
Samoa struck first early in the half with another penalty goal by Taefu to cut the lead to 16-12.
Japan answered with a penalty goal by Tamura and a try by No.8 Kazuki Himeno from a driving maul with Tamura slotting the kick to lead 26-12.
In the 72nd minute, Henry Taefu found a gap and motored in for a try, which he then converted to cut the lead to 26-19.
Three minutes later, Kenki Fukuoka scored in the corner and in injury time, wing Kotaro Matsushima added a bonus point try with Tamura adding the extra for a 38-19 win.
Player of the Match honors went to Lomano Lemecki.
Squads & Match Preview
Japan: 1. Keita Inagaki 2. Atsushi Sakate 3. Jiwon Koo4. Wimpie van der Walt 5. James Moore 6. Michael Leitch 7. Pieter Labuschagne (capt.) 8. Kazuki Himeno 9. Yutaka Nagare 10. Yu Tamura 11. Lomano Lava Lemeki 12. Ryoto Nakamura 13. Timothy Lafaele 14. Kotaro Matsushima 15. Ryohei Yamanaka 16. Shota Horie 17. Isileli Nakajima 18. Asaeli Ai Valu 19. Uwe Helu 20. Hendrik Tui 21. Fumiaki Tanaka 22. Rikiya Matsuda 23. Kenki Fukuoka
Samoa: 1. Jordan Lay 2. Seilala Lam 3. Michael Alaalatoa 4. Piula Faasalel 5. Kane Le’aupepe 6. Chris Vui 7. TJ Ioane 8. Jack Lam (capt.) 9. Dwayne Polataivao 10. Ulupano Seuteni 11. Ed Fidow 12. Henry Taefu 13. Alapati Leiua 14. Ah See Tuala 15. Tim Nanai-Williams 16. Ray Niuia 17. Paul Alo-Emile 18. James Lay 19. Senio Toleafoa 20. Josh Tyrell 21. Pele Cowley 22. Tusi Pisi 23. Kieron Fonotia
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)